Meet some of my other family and friends………

I’ve mentioned before that I have been to Uganda and tonight as I was sorting through some photos on the laptop I came across some from the times that I have spent out there. I hope you don’t mind but I wanted to share them with you guys.

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You see, I’ve been to Uganda 5 times, 4 times during the Summer and once for Christmas and each time I went I fell more and more in love with the country, but more so the people. And I made a promise, in my heart, that I would never forget those people. That I would never forget the shame I felt when I came home to my luxurious life. I promised that I would be their voice, that I would stand up for them, that I would fight for them, that I would make sure that somehow, their lives were made a little better.

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And I did….for a while. A lot of people grew tired of me, always going on about Uganda. I came home each time, changed, challenged, motivated, inspired, ready to take on poverty single handed.  And, for a while I fought on these peoples behalf. I told their story. I shared the heartbreaking stories of my friends in Uganda who had to eat leaves from trees and drink their own urine to survive. I told people of the thousands of street children, who have nowhere to sleep at night, who eat from the bins, who are as young as 3 and 3. I shared my photos of beautiful, beautiful children who had nothing to wear but a shoe lace around their waist, or a scrap of material for a nappy.

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But, somehow, ‘life’ has taken over. Dare I say it, but somewhere along the way, I have lost that passion for these people. I have stopped fighting for them, I have stopped sharing the stories and the photos.

So, tonight, I want to start fighting again. I want to share with you guys, some pictures from my time in Uganda. I want to show you some of the most beautiful people I have ever met. Some of the richest; not richest with money or possessions, but rich with true spiritual joy. And maybe, just maybe, someone out there will be touched. Someone else will share my pictures, my stories and the silent horror of what life is for some people will be realised. Perhaps you’ll start fighting for them too…….

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A new room!

Busy, busy, busy! That’s how I feel – it’s all go at the moment, what with days out, tidying up, clearing out and rearranging nearly every room in the house! I haven’t been very good at getting around to writing on the old blog :/ A few of you guys have been asking me about little L’s room…it’s not quite finished yet, still a few pictures to add to frames and bits and bobs to finish off, but hey I’ll let you all see it now :) You’ll forgive the dirty mirrors and wrinkled bed sheets, I like to keep it real around here ;)

Okey dokey, so, here we go….probably should have taken the pictures on a sunny day, probably should have taken more arty farty type pictures too, but hopefully you’ll get the idea :) I love her wee room and so does she, I hope these piccies do it justice…..

You can see her flower lights – I think they feature in a LOT of little girl bedrooms :)

Her toddler bed, her dolls bed and her armchair for relaxing and reading books.10413411_10150418556924957_7440738289030117037_n

 

Then she’s got her storage unit for easy access to all her favourite toys and books. She’s also got some little keepsakes on the top – the doll she got for her 1st birthday, a little trinket box for her dedication, her first musical jewellery box and her first proper pair of shoes.984144_10150418556859957_1164351555361035315_n

 

Above that on a high shelf is Snow White and the 7 dwarfs. This was my favourite film growing up, I once played Bashful in a school production :) Santa brought L Snow White for Christmas and a lovely friend passed on the gorgeous little dwarfs. I’m a little protective over these toys at the moment – hence the shelf!10403378_10150418556979957_3705330823935693602_n

In one corner of her room, is another storage unit for other toys and books with her favourite ones being easily accessible on the lower shelves.10478164_10150418556784957_2925299630886466900_n

 

In another corner, is the much adored kitchen and her built in wardrobe – man those things are great! We have hidden things away in there, which you will see in the next picture!10485366_10150418556724957_3274661927839280129_n

 

10561567_10150418556694957_1791729066985369056_nHa!! Yes, so it ain’t that tidy in there is it?? Whoops! Oh well, no-one really sees in here anyway! There’s a shelf to help with more storage :) Can you tell I love a bit of storage?! One of those canvas shelf clothes things (what are they called?!), and her purple laundry basket.

Here’s a little picture of her big girl bed – thankfully the move has been successful and she hasn’t looked back since. 

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So there we have it, a little whistle stop tour of L’s new room :) I’m all pleased with how it has turned out. She has plenty of storage for all her little bits and pieces and hopefully it is a room that will grow with her :) Thanks to all those who gave me some tips for where to get toddler bedding – Asda came up trumps – I can’t resist a bargain!!

 

 

A wee day at the farm.

Evening folks! Thursday of the first week of the holidays and it’s been a strange sort of week, with finding out about S needing to have an operation, to dipping our toes in the sea, to trying out the new Ashvale Farm Shop, to the hubster being in 3 days at work, (he’s a teacher, I was expecting him to be home all week) the week has been a busy one! Isn’t it amazing how the weather just ‘makes’ it though?! When the sun is out, a normal day out becomes a great day out.

Wanted to share with you our little trip to the farm last weekend. I had exchanged my Tesco clubcard vouchers for ‘Days out vouchers’, I’m sure there is a more official name for it, but I can’t remember what exactly they are called. Basically at the time that you were able to double your points, I doubled mine and exchanged them for vouchers. Loooong story, simply to say we got into the farm for free :) Usually it is £20 for a family ticket.

The Ark farm has been a bit of a favourite with me for a while now. I have taken my little P1’s at Christmas time on a class trip and now we have spent lots of happy days there as a family. If you want to find out more about what all you can do there, take a wee peek at their website.

On Saturday we were very fortunate that the sun was out in all it’s shiny glory!  We spent an hour looking at and cuddling and feeding the animals and then four hours picnicking and playing in the outdoor adventure play area!  To be fair you could spend longer with the animals, but we are fortunate that we have cows just outside our house, and horses in the field nearby, our neighbours chicken frequently come for a visist, so I guess J,S and L were a bit like, “yeah, yeah mum it’s a cow!” But there are lots of animals to meet and they are all very tame and friendly. Below are some snaps from our day….really should invest in a decent camera…but until I win the lottery, my phone will have to do ;)

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Mummy knows best.

Tonight I’m feeling – emotional, relieved, drained, frustrated, blessed, happy, nervous, anxious….you see I’ve been worrying about my little S since he was about 9 months old, and yet, it was only today at 36 months I got some answers.

When S was 9 months old he took a really bad chest infection which then developed into pneumonia. And from then it has felt that he has always been sick. He has rolled from one ear infection to the next. With a few throat infections and chest infections in between. It seemed that he was always on an anti biotic.  At Christmas time he ended up in hospital with pneumonia again and this combined with 2 ear infections and a throat infection meant he was a poorly wee man. (You can read more about that time here.)

And the thing is. I hate my kids being sick. I really, really hate it. I worry, ridiculously worry to the point that I fear the absolute worst, even though it’s ‘only an ear infection’. I panic about the high temperatures, the accelerated breathing.

I also have been worrying about S’s speech. If you follow me on Facebook, or are a regular reader of this blog, you will know that I have mentioned it a few times. From he was about 18 months I was concerned that he wasn’t saying as much as he should be. He was having difficulty imitating some of the animal sounds, like the snort of the pig and I was concerned. I rang my Health Visitor a couple of times about it and she said she would assess him at his 2 year review. She came and said that she didn’t have concerns about his speech and that it was what would be expected for a 2 year old boy. But I wasn’t convinced.  It wasn’t that I thought I knew better. I just felt there was more to it. So I pushed for her to refer us to a Speech and Language therapist.

We (finally!) got our appointment and when we went, she told me that S had the expected oral language of a 2 years 4 month old boy and his understanding of language was that of a 3 and a half year old.  I should say, that I had also been concerned about his drooling. I felt his drooling was excessive. He wasn’t teething anymore and yet he was still drooling –  a lot. She noticed his drooling and asked me about it. I told her I was concerned about his speech and this drooling and so she very kindly agreed to send us to an audiologist and she could test his hearing for me and see if there was fluid/congestion in his ear/nose/throat. But that she, as a speech and language therapist could see nothing wrong with his development and would not need to see him again.

I was so frustrated.

Anyhow, we waited another 4 months and got our appointment with the audiologist. Now, it did not go well. I’m not sure whether I am overly critical or maybe overly protective of my children, but the lady doing it had no real ‘skill’ with kids. She wanted to do some hearing test with S but he just wouldn’t do it. He was shy, a little afraid. She hadn’t even said hello to him or even said his name, so he was not for doing her game. Maybe it was his fault and he shouldn’t have been so awkward. But the 2 and a half-year old was shy and didn’t speak 1 word the whole appointment let alone talk for this woman. She was able to do the other test needed however and it confirmed that he did have fluid in both his ears, but until he complete the hearing test that she wanted she couldn’t refer him to ENT.

Raging. Actually raging.

I cried the whole way home in the car that day.

As well as all of this, I was concerned about his apparent behaviour. The wee mite seemed angry a lot of the time. Frustrated. Like something was bothering him. I thought it was maybe because he couldn’t communicate his needs.  He shouted a lot. Cried a fair bit. Now I know that all kids can do that. But it was different. I knew there was more to it. He seemed genuinely upset sometimes. genuinely frustrated. He wasn’t being naughty. Something was up.

In March of this year I reached breaking point with it all. I knew in my heart that there was something more going on with my wee boy. I made an appointment with one of the ‘best’ doctors in our practice (he gets a good name – I think every practice has one!!). It was a 3 week wait to see him. In we went, I gave him a bit of background on S, told him I had self referred him to a speech therapist. The doctor said I had done all his work for him! (Am I a pushy mum??)

He took 1 look into S’s ears and said, “Oh, well, that’s completely abnormal. And so is that one”. He then went on to say, “Does he have trouble with words beginning with S, H or F?” To which i said, “YES!!!!!!! Yes he does”. He said, “Yeah he can’t hear them, they’re a high frequency sound and at the moment I would estimate that his hearing is reduced by at least 30% on both sides”. “Does he shout at you sometimes or scream?” “YES!” “Yeah, he doesn’t know he’s shouting”. His ears were packed with wax, a lot of fluid behind the ear drums and he thought there may have been a hole in one of his ear drums.  “I’m sure he can be quite frustrated at times as I would say he is in pain almost every day.”At which point I burst into tears.

“What’s wrong?” he asked. “I have been pleading and fighting with people since S was 9 months about his health and his speech and no one would listen”. He said, “Well, I’m referring to an ENT consultant at the Royal and we will get it sorted.”

So, today was our appointment.

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I was completely emotional this morning. Taking your child to the Royal Hospital is not something you ever want to have to do, no matter what you are taking them for. It brought back memories of our time there in January. I didn’t know what the Doctor was going to tell us would need to be done. When a Doctor tells you your child’s ears are “completely abnormal” you don’t know what to think. So off we went.

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The good news is, that for now, the consultant will take out his adenoids and put in grometts and see how things go when that is done. That should happen within the next 3 months :) Finally, we are getting somewhere. Finally I know, I’m not an over-anxious mother or,  “a typical teacher mum worrying about his speech”, as one of the professionals told me (!!!!!) Us mummy’s know our kiddies. We know when something isn’t just quite right. I don’t mean, by any means to belittle the work of Doctors or Health Visitors or Speech therapists. I just want to encourage any mothers out there, who have a little worry, or niggle about their child to keep on fighting for them. Keep on pushing. You just might be onto something.

Now all I have to worry about is the operation……….

 

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My very own Chandler ;)

 

 Family Friday linky – #FamilyFriday – Week 10

Somedays I wish I was a man!

Do you ever just wish that you weren’t a woman??!

Like honestly, the way women are made up – over thinking things, stressing about minor things, getting offended, getting hurt at the silliest of things, worry, worry, worrying. Stressing about what weight they are, what colour their hair is / skin is.

Why did that mum not say hello to me this morning at the school gate?

What did the teacher mean when she said he wasn’t great with scissors?

The husband only gave me 1 kiss on the way out the door this morning, have I annoyed him?

Maybe I shouldn’t have said that, maybe she/he took it the wrong way?

Oh, I hope I haven’t offended her, I didn’t mean it to sound like that.

Do you think she’s annoyed at me?

Have the kids had a balanced diet today?

Are they going to get burnt alive in this sun?

Am I stimulating them enough / too much?

I NEED to have ‘such n such’ over for dinner or something soon.

Do they need to see a Dr about that cough?

Do they have friends at school?

Are they accepted by their friends?

Do they behave?

Are they keeping up with what’s expected of them?

The ironing pile is really mounting up it needs sorted ‘now’.

My windows are stinkin’ – must get them cleaned.

The floors need hoovered.

The bathroom needs cleaned.

The bedrooms tidied.

The kitchen floors mopped.

I’ve hardly played with the kids today.

There just aren’t enough hours in the day.

Can we afford to do …x.y and z.

I’m such a bad mummy.

I’m such a bad friend.

I’m such a bad wife / daughter / sister.

Maybe it’s just me. I am a bit of a worrier / stresser / over thinker. A bit of a perfectionist. I can’t help it. It’s just the way I am. There are times it’s a good thing – it means you always try to be the best that you can be, the best that you can be for others. But we women need to remember that, we are enough.

I read this article just the other day and sighed a big sigh at the end of it. I think it’s something I need to read every day http://www.scissortailsilk.com/?s=what+women+need+to+say+daily

Water Play Ideas!

With the fabulous weather I thought I’d share with you some of our ideas for Water Play. You don’t need any fancy equipment – you could use basins from the kitchen, your baby bath, toy boxes – really, any container. We are fortunate that we do have a Water Table, but it is not essential. My 3 all LOVE playing in water and with water. Back in my teaching days the water table was always very popular during Structured Play and would always be filled with little hands.  Here are just some of the advantages of water play for your little ones:

*working independently

*co-operate / take turns / share

* therapeutic

*learn about water safety

*sensory nature of water (adding things to change it’s appearance)

*imaginative play

*explore hygiene – bathing dolls / washing clothes / doing the dishes

*develop fine motor skills

*develop hand eye co-ordination

*learn mathematical and scientific language and concepts – capacity / floating

* develop gross motor skills – muscles in arms! A jug of water can be pretty heavy for a little one.

And here are some ideas to get your started, we hope to add a bit more imaginative play to our water table this summer, so keep an eye on our Facebook page for more ideas!

BATHING BABIES.

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EXPLORING CAPACITY AND VOLUME WITH FLOWER POTS AND WATERING CANS.
IMAGINATIVE PLAY – THE GARDEN CENTRE.

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EXPLORING CAPACITY /FLOATING & SINKING /IDENTIFYING COLOURS.

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IMAGINATIVE MONSTER PLAY

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ICE BOATS.

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SEA ANIMALS / THE SEASIDE

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MIXING COLOURS.

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NURSERY RHYMES – 5 LITTLE DUCKS WENT SWIMMING ONE DAY

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EASTER PLAY – FLOATING / SINKING

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VALENTINES DAY

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ROW, ROW, ROW YOUR BOAT

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TALKING ABOUT FREEZING / MELTING WITH SNOW.

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IMAGINATIVE PLAY – THE FARM – MILKING PARLOUR

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SHAVING FOAM SNOW MEN IN WINTER

 

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ADD WATER BEADS

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PLAYING WITH AND EXPLORING ICE

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Let me know if you give them any of them a try or if you have some ideas that we could try :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bike rides, picnics, play parks and lots of love!

Evening all! It’s been an absolutely gorgeous day here – I hope that it has been where you are too :) In fact, shock horror, it has actually been a fabulous weekend of lots of sun. And we have made the most of it. Truth be told, I hadn’t made any definite plans for what we would do this weekend to celebrate Father’s Day, but sometimes the best memories are made when they are spontaneous.

Saturday morning we headed off to Castlewellan Forest Park.

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It has become a bit of a tradition. For the hubster’s first Father’s Day we took a picnic there on the Sunday afternoon and now every year since we have done the same. I’m kind of hoping that when the kids are 18 it is something that we’ll still be doing. I decided to go on the Saturday this year as I had booked The Pheasant, for dinner on the Sunday as a little surprise.

The last time that we had been at Castlewellan we had spotted a little sign saying that you could hire bicycles. So we decided to give that a go this weekend. We’re not really a very sporty family so have never been out with the kids on bikes before so it was somewhat of an adventure for us :) The kids loved it and so did we.The guys were very helpful in getting us kitted out with bikes and little trailers and helmets and told us that we had the bikes for 3 hours. So off we set. Castlewellan is perfect for this…..flat, 5 mile cycle in beautiful surroundings – winner!

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There was time to stop off for some tree climbing and Gruffalo hunting …..

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And we enjoyed a yummy picnic and the kiddies had fun running around in the open grass areas, giving me and hub some time to actually chat!

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Sunday then saw us meet up with my folks for a bit of Sunday lunch at The Pheasant, just down the road from us, and we love it! If you haven’t been you should give it a try. Great food, with great offers – on occassion kids eat free too :)  A lovely opportunity to celebrate dads and grandas alike!

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yummy!!

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They have a little kids play area outside which was perfect for relaxing with full tums!

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So, there we go a weekend of bike rides, picnics, play parks with lots of love shared and memories made. It’s funny too how a little bit of sunshine just makes it that little bit more wonderful x