Welcome home!!

We have definitely had a warm welcome back to our home in Mexico. Some of our lovely friends had made posters and left us a big bowl of fruit to greet us on our arrival!

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We left the UK to come back 2 weeks ago, but it already feels like we've been back for ages. We had such an amazing time catching up with family and friends in the UK, so as always it was really hard to leave. We managed to see most people but, as inevitably happens, we didn't manage to catch up with everyone - we're really sorry to those that we didn't manage to catch up with )-: 

God provided for us so amazingly whilst we were back - right from a house to use as our base in Torquay (thank you soooo much Brian and Ros), to a renowned surgeon with expertise in the area of lipomas (we found out that Steve had an intramuscular lipoma - benign tumour - on his chest). 

Thank you for your continued prayers for Steve's recovery. It was a pretty hectic time packing up to leave and then recovering from the flight and jet lag took it's toll on all of us. So Steve has made slower progress than we had hoped. This is partly due to the fact that there were several pressing situations that he had to deal with on his return, and to the fact that Charlie has beaten him up a couple of times!! 

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The flight went really smoothly - Charlie chatted up the air hostess and got extra treats as a result, the girls made friends with some Mexican students who were practicing their English, and we even got given a cream tea on the plane (which we naughtily smuggled back to Mexico and which today we have enjoyed with some fresh scones!)

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The kids have actually coped really well with adjusting back to life in Mexico, and although they took a week to get over the jet-lag and Nisha went down with a tummy bug, both Anya and Nisha have now had a few days at school and have really enjoyed being back. They took the photo book that Nanna and Pappa made for them in to school to show their classes some of the things they did in England, and they shared some Jelly Babies with their friends and teachers too. It was really nice to see how excited both their friends and teachers were to see them back, it reassured us that for the moment they are in the right place for them. We are currently organising a meeting with the partners of the school however to ask them some hard questions about their management of the school, so depending on how they respond, we may need to evaluate where the girls go to school next year.

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They were really really excited to see Susie and Matthew as well (the Forsythe children who are also missionaries here) as they have especially missed them. Please pray for the whole Forsythe family at the moment as they have had a really tough few weeks. About a week before we were due to return to Mexico, Gemma was rushed in to hospital to have emergency surgery after they discovered she had an ectopic pregnancy that had ruptured her fallopian tube. She had a litre and a half of blood in her stomach area and the situation was life-threatening. We are so thankful to God that Jonny and close friends acted so fast and got her to the nearby hospital, and we praise God that she is now well on the way to recovery. This has had a huge emotional impact on them all as well, and we ask for your prayers for them as they slowly get back to 'normal' day to day life. 

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The other thing that was really exciting for Anya was that the carrots she had planted had grown whilst she'd been away!

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It was also really lovely to get back and to see Mim. She is an intern from Wales who will be staying with us until the middle of July. She got here before us in the end because of our delay in coming back. so she had already made herself at home, and we immediately felt like she was part of the family! The kids warmed to her straight away (in fact Anya followed her around like a puppy!) and Steve and I already knew her from the times she had come on teams to Mexico, so we are so blessed to have her here again. 

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Mim is helping out at MEFI during the time she is here and practicing her Spanish at the same time. She has been an enormous blessing to the team and to the street young people, and we're praying that this won't be the last time she's here in Mexico. 

Please pray for the various teams that are coming to visit over the next couple of months. We have 5 teams and 5 interns coming, the majority will be working with MEFI. One of the interns - Olivia - is 16 and will be staying with us for a month after the team whom she is arriving with depart. Please pray for her as she has been on a team before and has a massive heart for Mexico and the street young people. She and her parents are quite nervous as this is the first time she has been anywhere on her own. 

Please pray for Steve as he takes back the responsibility of running the field. There are a lot of challenging situations that he is dealing with at the moment, but at the same time the ministry here is entering a new chapter where we are hoping to network with a lot more churches and see God's work through OMS expand in to other parts of Mexico. 

 


Day of the dead

We are just about to head off on team retreat for a long weekend. Before we head off though we wanted to share a powerpoint slide with you that some friends put together to ask for you prayers.

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If you interested in reading a short a article on some of our thought's J. John wrote a helpful piece for The Mirror just recently on this subject. You can click the link below to read more. 


http://www.mirror.co.uk/opinion/news-opinion/reverend-j-john-six-reasons-2486777


Ministry Opportunities

We have both had new ministry opportunities over this past month. After finishing a course going through the grand narrative of the Bible called 'The Story' with her small group, Helen felt God was leading her to start an alpha course with this group. Attendance has gone up since the last course she ran and there are a number who are not Christians or are very new Christians and who are very hungry to know more about God and the Bible. Please pray for Helen and her missionary colleague and friend, Gemma as they minister to this group of ladies each Thursday evening. Please pray especially for a close friend of Gemma's who started coming last Thursday, she's called Cari, and is coming with her two daughters Lorena and Sofia. They have been on a journey over the last few months in their spiritual lives, and are very close to finding a new and living relationship with Jesus. They have also accepted the invitation to go on a women's retreat in a few weeks time, which will be a fantastic opportunity for them to find out more. 

Meanwhile Steve has been spending a lot of time with the national church board this month. There have been a number of new churches planted in the last couple of years and most of these churches have reached the point where they meet the requirements to become organised and recognised churches with all the rights and responsibilities within the national church.

Steve has been out a lot of evenings meeting with various leadership teams helping them work through this process. Last Sunday was the first official service of many where we recognised and celebrated with one of these churches. 

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Steve continues to teach his course in the seminary and lead the OMS team. We're exited to welcome a new family to the field this coming month. Please pray for Leslie, Brenda, and their children Darina and Liam as they join us.


Back to school for Nisha, Anya and Steve!

Last month we had to do some major adjustments to our routine as Anya and Nisha started at their new school. We're thanking God that we found such a good school just round the corner. Thank you all those that were praying for this. It's bilingual and has all the different grades from Pre-school to 'High School'/'6th Form'. It is divided in to sections however, so it is not quite as crazy as it sounds! 

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Both Nisha and Anya were excited to be starting there.  Nisha had been there for a trial day, which really helped her transition, as some of the girls whom she met on that trial day remembered her and have already become good friends with her - even though they're in the year above. She has a Spanish teacher - Miss Laura, and an English teacher - Miss Adriana, whom are both lovely and she seems to respond really well to them. 

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She has to get to school by 7.20 am however, which is a bit of a shock to the system! What motivates her to get up more than anything is that she gets to ride with Daddy on his moped to school - and she giggles the whole way! The teachers always comment that she arrives at school with a big smile on her face! 

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Nisha has also tried out a couple of after school activities which are on offer at the school. The one that she has enjoyed most so far is music and keyboard, so she may be doing sessions of that twice a week. Please pray for the homework situation at the moment though. She gets homework in Spanish and English each day, and at times it takes her 1 1/2 to 2 hours to complete all of it (and this is the case with other pupils as well we've found out). We've spoken to her teachers about this who have said that she should be spending around 40 mins a day on her homework,  and so we're hoping they will adjust what they are setting and that the situation will improve. 

Anya was excited to go back to school as well, especially as she is now with her good friend Susie (one of the other missionary kids here in Mexico. I walk to school with Anya and Charlie to get there for 8.30, so at least it's not such an early start for her. Then I usually pick both the girls up at 2.30 to walk back. We really enjoy our walks to and from school together. On the way to school Anya rides on the 'Buggy board' so that we get there quicker, and we get lots of comments and smiles from people along the way. Anya sings and plays 'eye spy' all the way there. Then they both chatter non-stop all the way home - which takes 3 times as long because we go at their pace and not mine!

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Anya has a Spanish teacher (Miss Erika) and an English teacher (Miss Maggie) as well, both of whom Anya loves. Anya's class had a Cowboy themed party to welcome them during the first week, and both Nisha and Anya dressed up for a little Independence Day Party on Monday this week.

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Steve has also gone back to school this month - but as a teacher! He has been teaching the Hermeneutics course in the Mexican Seminary that OMS have here. There are 15 students in his class - all of different ages, and he has to teach for 3 hours in Spanish every Tuesday evening. He's really enjoying it though, and so are his students, so it might be something he does again in the future. 

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Charlie however is just learning to eat and talk, so his classes are at home with Mummy!

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'The Brits are coming'

This is what we were told would be shouted when people saw us coming on Independence day in the US. We hadn't exactly planned to be celebrating Independence day with the Americans, but thankfully we weren't made in to targets and shot at!

Our first week was spent at OMS HQ where we had a leaders retreat and then a week of meetings (mainly for Steve with all the field directors from countries all over the world). It was quite an intense week but was a really valuable time, mainly in terms of making good links with people. We met the new OMS President and his wife and got to say goodbye to the outgoing one. Helen was also able to make a link with the organizers of 'Dynamic Women' teams and make initial plans for a team to come and do some sessions with the street girls in 2015. The girls had a great time with the other missionary children, and one of the highlights was going to the pop-corn factory where they got to try flavours ranging from tomato ketchup to water-melon flavour! We had a special time with an old university friend of mine (Helen's) who now lives in Chicago. She has twins the same age as Nisha so they had a great time together. We also met up with our adopted sister Hillary and her husband Craig and her parents where she is living now in LaFayette. We had a really lovely time with them. 

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The second week we were blessed to stay at some friend's lake-side house outside of Cleveland, Ohio. It was a beautiful location and there was a swimming pool and even a little beach just down the road. We watched all sorts of birds come and feed outside the window, and had a bonfire one evening - to celebrate 'Independence day' from us Brits! We were able to borrow the couple's kayak and go for a 'spin' on the lake with the girls.

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We then travelled back via Amish country to Indianapolis. It was really interesting to see the Amish people with their horses and buggies, and to get a glimpse of how they live. We then went to the OMS - USA conference where there were around 800 people who had come to hear about what God is doing through OMS around the world. We really enjoyed catching up with other missionaries and homeland staff who we hadn't seen for a number of years.  

After this we flew to Massachusetts to spend a week with my sister Becs who has recently moved there and started a new life there. We had a fabulous time and got to meet Debra who she's living with and lots of her music friends from the 'Old time music scene' that she has become really involved in. It was a really special time for us and the kids. Anya enjoyed eating kale of all things from Becs and Debra's garden, and both Anya and Nisha got to play a couple of tunes on the guitar and violin (with a little help from their friends!). They loved 'Omie' - Becs and Debra's cat, and got to meet tarantulas, bees, chickens and kittens at another friend's house! We were really sad to have to leave. 

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We're back home now in Mexico, and Nisha and Anya are at summer school at their old school for a couple of weeks. It's a good way for them to spend some more time with their friends and teachers and do some fun things with them before they leave that school in order to start at their new one on 18th August. Please pray for the transition for them both. 


Found alive and well!

We received an amazing answer to prayer this evening. Eli has been missing for more than 6 months now, and we had begun to think the worst - knowing that there were very few people who would even know she had gone missing or who would care. But she is like a sister to us and we did care and continued to pray that one day she would turn up and that God would be looking after her wherever she was. 

We had phoned the missing persons help-line but they had come up with nothing. Finally we asked one of the volunteers from MEFI who lives down in the south of the city - within the same district as Eli if she could ask in the market place and anywhere else where Eli would usually go if they had seen her. We had a partial address for her - although the names of streets and neighbourhoods here often lead you on a wild goose chase! Besides, Eli's rented room didn't have a number or anything. 

However, Julia (the volunteer) set out on her own with a photo of Eli to walk the district within which we knew Eli lived, and kept asking people around if they had seen her. Eventually she found a man who told her to knock on a door of one of the buildings. She did this and amazingly Eli appeared at the door!

We're thanking God that Eli is OK, nothing serious happened, she just got in to a lot of financial problems and had to sell her mobile phone amongst other things, and had to work long hours, so didn't have the money or time to come to the drop-in centre to tell us what was going on. She had lost all the contacts on her phone, and although she'd tried to retrieve our number she hadn't had any success. 

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Sadly, because of her financial problems she has had to take Edith (her youngest) out of school. Samuel is still at the boarding school, but we found out he has been suffering with depression (he is only 8 years old) and Eli insinuated that he has been suicidal at times. He is now on anti-depressants which Eli is trying to raise the money for. 

Now that Eli hasn't got a phone and isn't working in MEFI it is going to be much more difficult to support her or keep in touch with her. Please pray that God provides for her daily needs and that she will see real evidence of His love and care for her. Thank you for your prayers for her whilst she was missing - God does hear us when we pray!


A Big Transition for Nisha and Anya

On June 18th Nisha and Anya will have their last official day at the Pre-school where Nisha has been going since she was 2 and Anya since she was one and a half. They are going to miss their teachers so much. Their teachers have really been amazing - their dedication, professionalism, hard work, love for the children and patience at all times have been so evident to us - even through a tragedy, which they experienced at the end of last year. We wish Nisha and Anya could take them with them to the next school! Here is a picture of Nisha and Anya with their teachers dressed up in typical Mexican outfits.

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We have heard great things about the school where they will be going as well, so we're praying that the relationship with the teachers will be just as good. Of course they will both miss their friends too - Nisha especially who has developed a couple of deep friendships over this past year. As the kids from Preschool tend to go on to Primary schools scattered all over the city (or at least this part of the city), we don't think any of them are going to be going where Nisha and Anya are going. However, Nisha has been praying that God will help her make new friends quickly, and she is excited (although she went very shy in this video!)

 
As Nisha said, we are going to the USA for a month from the 19th June, so Nisha and Anya will actually miss the last few weeks of school unfortunately. However, their teachers have said that they will do something special on Nisha's last day and get all her class to sign her school shirt so that they can have a proper goodbye. 

Then when we get back from the States we have decided to send Nisha and Anya to the summer school at their old place, which we hope will further help with the transition. Nisha will be entering Primary 1 (Mexico start a year later than the UK - aged 6) and Anya will be entering Kinder 1 (the school where they are going has all levels up until 'Prepa' or High School/6th Form). Anya is excited as not only will she be in the same school as Nisha, but she will be in the same class as her friend Susie Forsythe. Please pray for them both as they say their goodbyes in a couple of weeks time. 

The school put on a belated Mother's Day event last week which Nisha and Anya were performing in. They both did really well. Nisha was dressed as a chica from a place called 'Veracruz' on the coast, and Anya was a chica from the north of Mexico (so she had to wear a cowgirl outfit!). 

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Please pray for us as we spend time in the States. There are a few purposes for our visit. As Field Director, Steve is expected to take part in a week long meetings with other national & international leaders, which will entail a lot of meetings. We are hoping to catch up with some good friends during this time as well. Then after this we have been offered a little holiday in a couple's lake-side house, which will be a fabulous time of relaxing as a family. Steve has been asked to preach at this couple's church - a church which has been supporting MEFI for some time now. He will also be preaching at a few other churches whilst we are in the States. 

Then we are attending the OMS Conference where many supporters will be coming to find out about the current work of OMS. During our time in the Staes Steve will be ordained, pending the last few requirements he has to meet - so he will soon be a 'Rev'! (He won't be wearing a dog collar though!). This will further help with networking in Mexico and is a recognition of the pastoral and leadership role Steve has had here. We have both been asked to speak at this conference about our experiences here in Mexico so we hope God will use the time to encourage people to pray and support the work here. 

Then during our last week we will be visiting Helen's sister Becs who has just moved to Massachussetts to live there. We are so excited to see her and Debra who she's living with, and to introduce Charlie to her. She will be the first one from Helen's family to meet him in person!

So it will be a busy but exciting time, and one for which we need your prayers (especially for the kids as we will be doing quite a bit of travelling). 


Compañerismo

Compañerismo, the word the Mexican's use for fellowship, holds so much more meaning. It speaks of friendship, companionship, team work, camaraderie and harmony.

This past week I spent time with 3 senior leaders from the Mexican church, UNIFAM, visiting and having compañerismo with leaders from another church denomination OMS partners with in the Caribbean. This denomination has experienced a phenomenal blessing from God in the past few years in their church growth, something we are trying to contextualise for Mexico. 

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What discourages me is that the success of this church growth has been based on a few core principles that are sadly missing in so many of our churches. Without writing a full missiological thesis, (which I may do someday!), let me share some brief thoughts on these observed principles.

Every member is engaged

There are very few 'pew warmers' in their churches. Thousands of new believers are being equipped to share their faith, win new converts to Christ and disciple them. In fact their church is an observed example of 10 generations of new believers, which shows a church in action, which doesn't rely on the professional pastor to do all the work.

Reproducible training

There is a place for the academic and thought provoking sermons, but we also need to put tools in people's hands that can be reproduced allowing the gospel to spread like wild fire. There is a generation of Christians that think going to Bible college or seminary is what qualifies you for ministry. To some degree that's true, but fundamentally God 'equips the called, he does not call the equipped'. So, sadly, many discount themselves early on because of misguided thinking.

Focus on God's kingdom rather than a church's empire

There are far too many pastors concerned about growing the empire of their church and not focusing on unity with other pastors and denominations. So long as a church doesn't have a doctrine which has gone completely off the rails, Psalm 133 tells that that when we dwell together in unity with other brothers and sisters, God commands a blessing.  

The church is not the building it's the people

The folk we visited there had the 'advantage' that the government prohibits the setting up of new church buildings, so the beauty of this is that people are not held back by the need for a building in order to gather together. People gather in homes or community locations. Which is why currently in Mexico we are measuring our growth by the amount of house churches we can multiply. 

The church I recently handed over, mentioned in our last newsletter, doubled in size the year I was supervising it. This was done through the small groups. The goal is to triple the size of the church in the next year, which is possible when principles like those mentioned above are in play. 

Here's a picture of me presenting the new pastor and his family to the church. Quetzal was an elder whom I have been mentoring for the last year, and recently he left his job to work full-time with the church. The other picture is of the President of the denomination and me praying over them.DSCN0121

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Hunger to pray

The last and most vital principle is the passion to pray. There is much more I could say and many other observed principles, but prayer is so vital. We have made this our main focus in Mexico this year -  to raise up a new generation of prayer warriers. The country we visited clearly had prayer at the top of their agenda too. We have been saying to the folk here that "Mexico will be won on it's knees". It still baffles me that the prayer meeting is the least attended meeting in churches. If people could only fathom its power, prayer wouldn't cease in the church.

The compañerismo I had with our friends in the Caribbean this week has reminded me of the new thing God is doing in the world, with influential leaders like Francis Chan and David Platt leading the way. I believe the church will look very different in the next 30 years and will look more and more like the 1st century version. I would encourage any of you that feel like 'church' has gotten a bit stale to come have some compañerismo with us here in Mexico, or more importantly ask God to renew His vision in your heart.    


Our new arrival!

Last month we were still waiting for the new arrival. Then on 19th March he arrived! Charlie William Peter Cosslett came in to the world at 10.40 pm weighing 3.5 kg (7 lb 11 oz in old money!)  10000966_10201441261427679_2065792758_o


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The name Charlie is a name that is used here in Mexico (as a nickname for 'Carlos') so is easy to pronounce both here and in the UK. William was the name of Helen's Dad who died in 2001, and Peter was the name of Steve's Pappy who died in 2012. So he will carry on the memory of great men who will always be missed on both sides of the family. 

He is a very placid little boy who loves sleeping (much to our approval!) He takes after his dad in that respect! It's just as well he's easy-going with two very noisy and boisterous sisters to put up with! They both adore him however, and he definitely won't be short of cuddles with them around. Thank you all those who prayed for their transition - they've both adapted well, Anya especially seems a lot more settled now thankfully. 

He arrived in good time as 10 days later was his big sister Nisha's birthday, so it meant he could go to her birthday party. Nisha wanted a clown for her birthday party, and so we were able to hire a lady from one of our churches who does clowning as a part-time job. It was a highlight for both Nisha and Anya, and at the end the clown got some-one to pray for Nisha which was really special. 

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We've had an amazing few weeks with Steve's mum and dad. They arrived a week before Charlie was born and will be going home on Good Friday, this week. We'll be very sad to say good-bye to them, but we have lots of fun memories from their time here. We have celebrated all 3 kids birthdays with them, and been out for a meal to celebrate Helen and Steve's Mum's birthdays as well. We also had a chance to go away for a few days to a place 2 hours out of Mexico City where our land-lord has a holiday house with a swimming pool in the garden. So we had a lovely relaxing time together - Charlie enjoyed the hammock, and even had his first dip in the swimming pool. 

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Please pray for us all - especially the kids when the time comes to say good-bye. It's become very normal having them around, and it's going to feel like a long time til Christmas when we'll next see them. They've been a huge help with Charlie and the girls, and with all the jobs around the house as well, so we'll have some more adjusting to do when they go. We thank God for the time that they have been able to be here and for how God has blessed us so much through them. 


Blog from Anya

Hi, I'm Anya and I'm 3! I actually just turned 3 on 27th February, so I'm still celebrating my birthday! The best things about my birthday were the balloons, cuddles, paletas (lollipops in English) and cake! I had a 'Dinoroar' cake - 'Dinoroar, Dinoroar, hello Mr Dinoroar' (any of you Peppa Pig fans out there will know what I'm talking about!). George the pig likes Dinoroars and I do too. Nisha and I helped Mummy make the cake and Nisha helped to decorate it. 

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Nisha and I got a couple of joint presents too. We got a little picnic table because we love sitting outside for picnics - either breakfast, lunch or tea (or snacks in between!). We're sorry if that makes you English people jealous! We've been enjoying lots of hot weather here! 

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And because it's been so hot here, another present we've been able to enjoy is a new paddling pool! Mummy said she could use it as a birthing pool too if she doesn't get to the hospital in time. I think I'd prefer her not to though! So, as you can see, eating and swimming are two of my favourite things (-: 

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Nisha gave me a 'Mrs Potato Head' for my birthday which is great fun to take apart and put together again - upside down or back to front. I've just learnt how to draw people too, and I can draw happy faces and grumpy faces just like Mrs Potato Head has. 

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Please pray for me at the moment as I'm trying to adjust to the fact that I'm going to be a big sister! I can't wait, I've been telling everyone about the new baby, but it's quite a big change for me too. I think I'm going to miss having Mummy cuddles whenever I want them as she's going to be busy with the baby sometimes. I'm going to enjoy helping her look after the baby though, and I've been practicing with my babies. My mummy looks like a big balloon - 'Big balloon, big balloon, bigger than the sun or moon!' (Another song from Peppa Pig!)

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I'm looking forward to a little party we're going to have this week with my friend Susie, Valeria and Joy. I'm going to have a 'da-le da-le da-le' too (a piñata - that's just the song they sing when they hit it). Then when Nanna and Pappa come to visit in a couple of weeks time we can celebrate again!

Well, that's all from me. Oh, just one more thing - 'Roar!!' 

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