8 years ago today you, Nixie, changed my life in the most incredible ways. I really cannot believe that you, who were once my little baby who we used to hold in our hands and who used to only be able to sleep if you were on me, is now an 8 year old girl who's becoming more and more independent each day. 

Me and daddy stayed up close to 1am last night wrapping your presents and getting your birthday decorations up so when you came into our room just before 5 very excitedly asking if we could all wake up and go downstairs it took us a little bit before we could muster the energy. About 10 minutes later we were all downstairs where your eyes became big with wonder and giddiness at your pile of presents and decorations. Yesterday you kept telling me how excited you were to see what the lounge would look like, you even told me that you  were never going to sleep so you would catch us doing it. I absolutely love watching you open presents and Forrest, you were just as excited as Nixie as though it was your day too. You and I had gone to Smyths toy store  yesterday while she was at forest school and you chose her a special big box of Pokemon cards and also a Star Wars lightsaber, and you really took your time choosing the perfect gift and you could see by your face, Nixie, that you loved it and then you gave Forrest the biggest hug. But when you opened your main gift I don’t think you knew how to react! You saw Mario on the box (and you only recently learned of his existence when we watched the mario brother’s movie) and your mouth opened wide when you realised it was a game of some sort. You had never heard of a nintendo Switch before but when daddy set it all up for you I don’t think you could have been more excited! It brought back so many childhood memories for me when I used to play Mario Bros games! You both declared it was the best day ever.

While you were opening presents we had to take a little break because Foxy Coco Whitefoot arrived and you wanted to say hello and give him some breakfast. It felt good to see him as I’ve been a bit worried about him as he has a bit of a limp but it does seem to be a bit better. I love that you got to spend some moments with him on your birthday and not only that but a great spotted woodpecker also came into the garden to wish you a happy birthday, it was so incredible to see! 

Eventually we all had your birthday cake for breakfast and sang you happy birthday and then you cut the cake and I do love your portioning! Your slice alone was 1/4th of the cake! Afterwards me and daddy got ready and then we made our way to Monkey World. You really wanted to show daddy around as he had never been before and you especially couldn’t wait for him to meet Carli, the chimp. We adopted him about three weeks ago and now have an annual family pass. I just love how much you love it there, you could easily spend hours and hours just watching one of the monkeys or apes. Besides Carli, you also really love the woolly monkeys and of course my favourites, the orangutans. 

We always have a really special experience whenever we visit. The thing about visiting a place with animals is that every day will be different. And today we got to experience so many amazing moments such as: eye gazing with Amy the orangutan, it was so beautiful, I could literally feel her as our eyes connected and as always it made me emotional. We also for the first time had a very special moment with Gordon the alpha male and he came and sat next to us right on the other side of the window and he was looking straight at you, Nixie. It was incredible. Then we were reunited with Carli (charlie) and as usual we spent a good 45 min with him showing him photos on my phone, this time he was especially interested in your baby photos. It just feels so incredible that we can experience this connection with him and that we can come here whenever we want, it’s only a short 28 min drive for us. When we were with Carli there was a group of people that accumulated behind us all watching your interaction with him and I could hear people say that it was the sweetest most beautiful thing they’ve seen. After a while we continued on our way and watched some other chimps that we hadn’t really seen before including one who was eating poo and this left a mark in your mind, nixie and I will never forget what you said: “I will never be able to unsee that now! It looked like ice cream, like soft chocolate melting ice cream and it was all squishy!” your description was spot on! We made it to the orangutan creche where we got to see our favourite Bulu Mata all tucked up in a blanket and by this point, you, Forrest, only wanted to go to the cafe for an ice cream. Every two seconds you were shouting at us to go to the cafe and playground. Whereas Nixie you lose all sense of time when you are here and I can tell it’s really such a passion of yours to be around these beautiful beings. 

Eventually we made it to the cafe, where you both had ice creams and then Forrest you managed for the very first time to go down the fireman's pole all on your own! You were so proud! We headed to the big ape playground which had been closed the previous two times and on our way there we had an encounter with a very cheeky squirrel monkey who kept trying to bite our fingers and who was fascinated by my camera. We took the woodland walk and Forrest, you, kept telling us you saw a fox with a white foot and that it must have been foxy and that this must be his real home. I love how you love to tell stories at the moment. Throughout our whole time at the park, you, Nixie were so affectionate and snuggly telling me how much you love me and just wanting to hold my hand. It made my heart want to burst. All day I've felt pretty emotional about how quickly time passes and how grown up you are becoming. I just keep falling more and more in love with you everyday. 

After a short while at the playground we made our way to the gift shop as we promised you, Nixie we would go there today and that you could get something (and you chose a chimp soft toy that you named Carli). And on our way there we saw the sweetest little gibbon who loved to suck his finger and got to see a keeper with a woolly monkey who was stroking his belly and face and I asked if she was giving him a check up and she said yes but it's also because he just needed reassurance from her that he's ok as the older woolly monkey sometimes hurts his feelings. Bearing witness to this little encounter also made me emotional because what an honour to be this woolly monkey's safe person! 

We had to hurry home so we could do a super speedy tidy (when I say we I mean me and daddy, the two of you just wanted to play your nintendo switch) as a couple of your friends were coming over to smash the pinata that daddy made for you. He’s been putting so much love into it for the past couple of weeks and I can’t believe how amazing it looks! You wanted it to be star wars themed and I think daddy delivered quite epically with his stormtrooper! He even made a lightsaber to smash it with! 

You loved having some of your friends over and couldn’t wait to show them your new loft bed and your room. The last time they were here was on completion day when all they saw was an empty house! Lois made you the sweetest bday hat I have ever seen. You had a few outfit changes which I thought were so sweet. You all ran around the house, out in the garden, jumped on the trampoline when i realised that you were all getting increasingly giddy so that was the queue to break open the pinata. At first everyone was arguing about who gets to go first and second and so on so I decided to write everyone’s names down and then Kelly got to pull them out of a pot. Perfect solution. We hung the pinata in our willow tree and I’m so excited that we have an official place to hang our pinatas now! This time it took all of you forever to break it open compared to the last pinata we had which was on completion day and which broke after one hit. This one was not easy to break. I was so incredibly impressed by the two of you and your friends strength and enthusiasm to obliterate it! 

Once you all finally managed to get the candy out, we ordered pizzas from dominos and had a bit of a feast before it was time for another round of cake. But the waiting to get the food was a bit of a test as you were all getting a bit tired and hangry. By this point us grown ups were getting pretty tired I think too, it was definitely getting into bedtime but before everyone left, you, nixie really wanted to play musical statues so that is what we did and it was the best end to an amazing day. I laughed so much at how incredibly sweet you all looked and how funny you were all being. I just love you. You, nixie, had the sweetest statue face and kept trying to watch daddy to see if you could tell when he'd freeze the music. And Forrest you were cracking me up so much because you just kept dancing and dancing declaring you were out when the music stopped but still you just kept dancing and dancing. 

Forrest you struggled with the day coming to an end and were sooo tired and upset. Nixie you ran with everyone to their cars and gave everyone snuggles. As soon as everyone had gone we started to begin our bedtime routine although it was a bit harder for you, Forrest to agree to this. But eventually you did. And once we were all in bed reading our crocodile book by Owen Davies you were out in 5 min. Nixie, you wanted me to snuggle you to bed so I went into your room with you and snuggled until you fell asleep too which didn't take very long. And to my delight daddy gave me an amazing falling to sleep massage since it was my day of being  a mother for 8 years too.