Thursday, 30 June 2011

Reasons to be cheerful

Its that time of the week again to have a good old reflect on it and put down all the good bits. My reasons this week to be cheerful are:
  1. We have finally after god knows how many years of banging on doors been given an official diagnosis for Little Man. I do feel quite sad and to some extent angry about it all but we finally have it on paper - he has an ASD or autistic spectral disorder. The happy bit is the relief I felt when they said it, they sat there and said, yes he needs more than just strong aspergers traits which mean nothing when it comes to trying to get him extra help, we may as well be saying he has scratch his little finger and he finds writing harder so could he have help. What made me angry though was the fact those 3 little words were uttered - autistic spectral disorder and a pile of leaflets, helpline numbers, organisation details etc were placed on the table in front of us. We have been asking for this kind of information for 3 years but apparently strong aspergers traits doesn't warrent support. hey ho, we have reached the destination we wanted to and that makes me happy. Already they are talking of the next academic year and what should be put in place. One happy mummy.
  2. This is bcoming a usual reason for me but work seems to be going well.  I started talking to a lady at the bus stop while at the conference last week in Switzerland. She was from the UK and works for a lymphoma charity. We swapped contact details and it looks like they might be interested in using me to help them clear a backlog of work for about 6 months on a part time basis which would be brilliant. I am quite excited. I have always wanted to work with a charity and well, if I do the work well, they may continue to use me. Plus I have also been approached by another company about doing some freelance work for them as well in irritable bowel syndrome.
  3. I have been incredibly busy with work the last 3 weeks and barely left my laptop, literally, and I am on the last major thing now, so am seeing light at the end of the tunnel.
  4. Both my boys got glowing reports from their teachers at parents evening yesterday.
  5. Tomorrow is July and the last week of July a very, very good friend is going to be holidaying in Yorkshire (you know who you are BNM!) and I really can not wait to see her as they are going to spend the last night of their hols at our house, consuming quantities of alcohol and have a good old catch up and I can't wait!
By the way I read everyone else reasons but blogger is being a nightmare and I don;t seem to be able to comment on everyone's blogs, it just won't recognnise me, so I am not being rude and not reading, its just that I can't physically comment. Maybe one day when I am not quite so busy I will move over to wordpress.
If you want to see what is making everyone else happy this week, pop over to Mummy at the heart's blog and join in. its really good for you!

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Dalmatian Cake

Last week I made a cake for Mini Man's nursery. They have been raising money for the Guide Dog charity and had a visit from a Guide Dog. I am by no means an expert cake maker and just make them for pleasure but when the opportunity arises I love jumping to the challenge. I was going to attempt a golden retriever but it seemed a Dalmatian was the cake of choice so here are my efforts!

I must admit I was a little stumped how to make the head and the body, and took a while to work out what shaped cakes to bake and in hind sight I think his bum could of done with being slightly higher and more rounded. In the end I baked 2 large 11 inch sponge cakes, put them in the fridge overnight and then cut them into the correct shapes. I then used butter icing to hold it all together, and used mini rolls for the legs. So from this.........

To this and I have to say I was pretty pleased with it.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

I am gob smacked!

I have not blogged much about Little Man and his ADHD/Aspergers or daily life with him. I have begun to document our journey, the start of our concerns and have reached the first contact we had with CAMHS which was not a good start all told, as she told us the problems were due to a new baby, me spending a vast majority of the latter stages of pregnancy confined to a hospital bed some 20 miles away, and us being over anxious parents - totally missing the fact we had requested the referral due to our concerns before I was even pregnant. Either that or she thinks I am some scientific miracle who had sustained the longest human pregnancy in the world.

Anyhow without going into too much detail as I will continue with blogging about our journey, we eventually got referred to CAMHS, got seen by a lovely lady who actually listened and worked with us. Despite this CAMHS appointments were slow to come through, being booked months in advance, each thing our lovely Dr C did then had to be reviewed by a board which took a couple more months and in short it took up to a year to get one thing in place. The school he was at also seemed very keen to work with us, and the ed physc had Little Man's number.

I was concerned about the move back North as finally after 4 years I felt we were making progress and at the stage of getting the right assessments and help. But I have been nothing but impressed. We were seen by the CAMHS dept here within 4 weeks of moving, we were also seen by a paediatrican at the Children's Development Centre, the ed pysch came in within 5 months of him being in the school (took over 2 years previously) and so far since October we have had 5 appointments with CAMHS. The school SENCO is also brilliant and even without the say so of the ed psych, they have implemented 1:1 support on a daily basis for reading and writing, a teaching assistant every morning to over see him and bring him back to focus, and support in the playground.

All of the above has had me thinking that infact our old town and school were pretty rubbish.

Tonight however has taken the biscuit and I am bowing down to whoever needs to be thanked. 3 weeks ago Little man was given the proper Aspergers assessments, as to date everyone just cites 'strong aspergers traits' which in laymans terms means jackshit if you want to use it to get extra support.

Tomorrow we are going in to discuss the results - yes within 3 weeks of the assessment, that in itself is amazing. Last week I asked the school SENCO if she had heard anything about the Ed Pyschs report as I want to take it with us, so it was chased. Today I was stopped in school and told the ed pysch sent her apologies and would try and get something over to me today, and had asked for my contact details to save time - WHAT! I can't beleive it hasn't had to go via bloody Dubai to reach us.

TO cap it off though at 7.41 my mobile rings and it is the ed pysch herself explaining what the delay has been, apologising, checking my email address, asking me to proof her report and let her know my feedback before she cc's everyone else tomorrow, and to tell me she had tried to ring CAMHS to speak with the team today but had no success but would try again tomorrow morning before we went for the meeting.

Lets just say I needed a rather large glass of wine, and a sit down to comprehend what had just happened.

Do you know this is proof that some local authorities do actually want to help your child, and do really care, you child is not just another number in the system. As far as I am concerned this was above and beyond what I would ever expect.

And just to say I think her report is very fair and makes some brilliant points about Little Man and how he should be managed.

Monday, 27 June 2011

MumenTum week 1

Last week I decided to become involved in MuMenTum to try and encourage myself to tone up and lose the excess pounds I am gaining and to prevent me gaining anymore. So how has it gone?

Well I have decided I will weigh myself every Monday so last week i did just that> My main problem is I am beginning to put weight on and want to stop it, and I am in desperate need of finding my fitness again and toning up, so I was semi happy to see I only had 8.5lb that I wanted to lose to feel better.

My Davina DVD has arrived in the post this morning (my friedn swears by them so I thought what the hey and if someone sees me flinging myself around the front room as they drive up the road, then they shouldn't be looking!). I intend (please note the intend) to do this 3 times a week.

I have also decided that I will get into running. me and running don't mix, never have done. The town I live in is surrounded by a horseshoe of park called The Stray. it was left to the people of the town by some rich gentleman 100's of years ago so can never be built on as in theory every resident owns a certain percentage of it. My secondary school was built right on the edge of it and on those horrid miserable rainy days, the bastards use to make us run round a portion of the Stray, I never even managed to run one side of it, let alone the other 3. The other night I was driving by that bit of Stray and have set myself a challenge - One day I will run it!

On Friday my Avon lady also delivered my tummy trimmer - lets see if one I actually use it and two if it does anything for me!

Food-wise i have been really good all week, watched what I ate, made sure I had slightly smaller portions and hadnt snacked on biscuits etc. Thursday night though I ended up working through the night to meet a deadline and hit the biscuit tin about 4.30am as I was starving. Then all ay Friday I was so tired, I felt like I was having an out of body experience and reached for every type of crap you can imagine and down the gullet it went. I finished the day off with a curry and wine.

This is why I should not be surprised that I now have 10.5lb to lose but I am gutted! I feel really angry with myself about it, and am so busy with work that I don;t even really have the time to write this but want to keep up with it, so god knows when I intend to do my Davina DVD, run, tummy trim and work!

I WILL get there and I WILL lose those 10.5lb, Hopefully the rest of you ladies have had a better week and here's to hoping I can do better for next week!

By the way Dianne at Working Mum of 4 and a few others, I am not ignoring your blogs and have tried more than once to comment but I am having blogger issues. Whenever I try and post as a google account I can't so I apologise, I do read, i do want to comment but I can't.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Reasons to be cheerful

I am going to have to do a very quick post today for reasons to be cheerful as I am really, really busy with work and should not be doing this as I spend far too long on it and waste time! I have a deadline looming tomorrow which right now is looking like I will have to pull an alnighter unless I shift my arse!

So Reason to be Cheerful this week are:
1. I have been away with work for the past 2 weeks but I got home saturday night, my gorgeous boys were still awake and really excited to see me and it made my day having both of them fling themselves at me and give me massive bear hugs.

2. I had the opportunity last week to spend 5 days in Switzerland, albeit for a conference but I did manage a bit of downtime and have to say I am blown away by the country, the peacefulness, the cleanliness of the streets, the sheer beauty of the landscape. Never in a million years did I expect something so amazing and I would love to return with the boys and t'other half, if money ever permitted - it is also incredibly expensive out there.

3. I am so busy for the next few weeks with work that I do not know whether I am coming or going, and am feeling a little overwhelmed and daunted, however, it also means money and will cover us for the next few months if nothing else were to come my way. I know me, and I know that I will meet the deadlines, even if it does me forgoing some hours sleep. I have to do a good job as I work for myself so if I want repeat work I have no choice. secretly I love the pressure (honest!).

4. The weather hasn't been too bad, OK a little rainy but at least the sun is trying to peak through as it is today which always cheers me.

I am going to call it a day at that, otherwise I will waffle on and get little work done

If you want to see other people's reasons to be cheerful, check out Mummy from the Hearts blog.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Little Man and Mini Man Part 3

Just after we managed to get a referral over to CAMHS and CDC for Little Man I fell pregnant with baby number 2. The trying to get pregnant had been a long process, but we were there. My dates were very wrong, I had had a scan to find out why I was not conceiving and at the time was convinced I was pregnant, and was sure the scan would prove it. It didn't although she did say there was evidence of ovulation, but I was still suitably devastated, especially as my breasts were sore and I felt bloated. 3 weeks later, I felt fatter but then had the most horrendous period of my life.
Despite this though my clothes continued to get tight so I did a test and it was positive. At what I thought was 9 weeks pregnant, I saw the midwife, and she agreed I was further on or expecting multiples and sent me for a scan. It was a single one, but I was 15 weeks not 9 weeks. The bleed they put down to an attempted miscarriage or a possible twin, we will never know and we don't dwell on it. Considering my problems through pregnancy I suspect it was an attempted miscarriage.

At 25 weeks though I had another major bleed while away. The local hospital kept me in for 4 days telling me I was irresponsible to travel after a prem birth the first time, even though my consultant had said I was fine to stay at my parents for a week. They also refused to scan me which had me besides myself considering my last pregancy ended in placcental abruption and the baby being resuscitated. My own consultant was furious they hadn't done a scan and said it was financial and because I wasn't part of their trust. It turns out I had grade 4 placental previa, totally unrelated to my first pregnancies problems. Like to do things in style me!
From 25 week to 30 weeks I was on a roundabout of a few nights in hospital, then home, then back in, then home, then back in, you get the picture. All very disruptive, no family nearby so t'husband and our friend - Little Man's godmother dealt with Little Man and the childminder. Of course I hated being in hospital, I was beside myself over Little Man, and the fact childcare was such an issue. I was fortunate enough to have a very good manager who let me 'work from home' during this time, even though some of that meant working from the labour ward, so my wages still covered childcare but not 5 days a week. t'husband and godmother worked full time. My parents were still both working as well so couldnt come and stay being over 200 miles away.

At 30 weeks I had a very heavy bleed and was on delivery ready for surgery, but they kept monitoring every 15 minutes as they didn't want to deliver. The nurse specialing me said she could see the relief in both our faces at the thought of the baby being delivered, after all for us we had already had one of the same gestation and were more than aware of the highs and lows of a prem baby, and how different each could be. It wasn't meant to be and 18 hours later they decided I was no longer at risk, baby was happy so admitted me full time to hospital. There began the worst 4 weeks of my life, plus workwise I had to then go onto sick leave so I didnt even have work to keep me occupied.
I was so unhappy, I hated it. I was on the labour ward, got little sleep, sometimes went for 3 days with no visitors as t'husband didn't finish work until 6 and I wasnt in our local hospital so by the time he had got Little Man, and driven 20 miles against traffic, it was near Little Man's bedtime, and the poor little thing hadn't even eaten. Plus Little Man hated the hospital and would scream blue murder, to the extent there were occasions where t'husband and Little Man were at one end of the corridor and I was stood at the other end, waving to each other through doors as the staff wouldnt let t'husband bring Little Man through the antenatal ward to reach me, as he was so besides himself. Depending who was on that day would depend on if I was allowed off the labour ward. I was imprisoned. if there is such a thing as pre-natal depression, I had it. I also got quite resentful of the pregnancy, hated being pregnant and got to the stage of asking why we had bothered. The consultant decided I needed a pysch evaluation, I told him I didn;t need a pyschologist to tell me I was depressed and miserable at being lonely, being confined to a bed, seeing my little boy once or twice a week for about 30 minutes and scared stupid I was going to haemaorragh again and end up in the same situation as Little Man. When I said 'just get this baby out of me' I think he realised I had had enough and agreed to deliver at 34 weeks.
The night before my section, he came to see us to explain the risks pof grade 4 placental previa, and to say he wouldnt recommend another pregnancy as my body hadn't done so well. He offered to tie my tubes. We couldnt make that decision there and then and asked if we could decide in the morning. We didnt even really need to discuss it and both felt nature should take its course, if a 3rd was meant to be, it would happen and we would cope with whatever was thrown at us.
9.39 the next morning and Mini Man made his appearance out of the sunroof again. I have no recollection of it even though I was awake as I crashed and started phasing in and out of consciousness. Mini Man was a good weight at 4lb 9 but he was taken off to SCBU and put on CPAP.

Around lunchtime proud dad left us to go and show photos off. About an hour later he was called back. He said when you hear the words 'can you come back to the hospital please, don't worry or rush but come back to the ward your wife is on' you know its something not good. I wasnt good and they couldnt stop me bleeding, again I was phasing in and out of consciousness and he only just got to me before I was rushed into surgery. I guess nature did take its course as the only option they had was a hyserectomy. I spent 3 days in ICU, had 14 blood transfusions and didnt get to see Mini Man until he was 3 days old. Bonding was a problem and it wasnt unitl his incubator neighbour, a 31 weeker who was the son of a fellow inmate patient with me, was taken very poorly one night and only given a 25% of pulling through that I got the jolt I needed, although it was still a long process. By the way the little boy did pull through, although he spent the first year of his life in hospital and had many, many scares.

At a week old Mini Man was diagnosed with a large ventricular spetal defect and declared in heart failure and put on diuretics and steroids. They hoped with careful monitoring and drugs they could avoid the need for surgery.

Within 16 days of his birth we were both home. At 3 weeks Mini Man was labelled failure to thrive, taken off my breast milk, I was told to stop feeding him as I wasnt well enough, and he was put on high calorie milk, and then we started trying to settle into some semblance of a routine and normal life. All in all though the whole pregnancy had had a large impact on our lives and especially that of our Little Man.

Monday, 20 June 2011


I have recently been reading lots of posts by ladies taking part in something called MomenTum and it has got me thinking.  I have for over a year now been getting quite distressed about my muffin tops and my need to pull the waist band of whatever it is I am wearing up over my flabby belly to disguise it, and yet I never seem to be able to do anything about it.

I want to, I need to but I am not sure how.

I am by no means big but I have always been very active and been able to maintain a nice size 12 figure which was pretty toned (size 10 depending on which shop I went to). People who know me always dispute my claims at being a size 12 but I think that is because I have no chest so any weight I ever lose comes off there, and my top half is a definite size 10, so I think it can be misleading.

Pre-children I swam 3 times a week (50 plus lengths each session) and cycled/walked everywhere and I was a member of a gym and I loved keeping fit. In return I had a nice flat stomach, and was toned and felt good.

Since children especially number 2 and hitting 21 plus 16, I have a belly for the first time in my life which is really quite flabby, I have muffin tops, flabby thighs which now wobble, and a c section overhang from 2 sections and a hysterectomy and I want rid.

These ladies taking part in their joint weight loss/tone up have inspired me and if anyone of you out there who does take part happens to read this, then please, please let me know how to get involved.  I know I only have about half a stone to shift and my main aim is to revise my diet and get fitter but I need motivation and I would like to join in! Anyone know how to go about doing this?

Thanks in advance - I type that as I put the lid back on the Pringles - but I actually feel pretty good because I would normally be able to polish off a whole big tube of them and normally do but tonight I have managed to refrain and there is over half a pack left which for me is a miracle.  However, I would prefer for them still to be sat in the cupboard unopened and for my will power to return home after a long absence!

Little Man - Part 2 The terrible twos

Part 2 has been a while in coming following Part 1 which I posted back in May, things have just been hectic, but as they say better late than never and so our journey continues...... By the way this is a VERY long one!

At the age of 2 Little Man seemed to have every bad behaviour on his agenda, the biting, kicking, hair pulling, knocking children over, pinching etc just continued. We tried everything, we tried time out, yes we even tried tapping the back of his hand or bum, we tried taking away favourite toys, although he didn't really have any, we tried leaving places because of his behaviour, and the complete reverse of over praising for the rare good days we had and making a huge fuss of his behaviour and rewarding him. At 2, he was too young to understand the time out and the sticker charts but we still tried them.  Everyone who knew him though all said the same, his behaviour was a little odd, it was very clear there was never any malice behind what he did, he simply did it as though there was a connection missing that told him it was inappropriate. He also didn't play like the other children, he would latch onto one thing, quite often a strange thing and just sit and stare at it or fiddle with it. It was the same with TV, he would watch the same episode back to back and if allowed would of done so all day and he would not of been bored.
Sleeping was still a major issue, I began keeping a sleep diary and was shocked to see that some nights he was up over 46 times. At 18 months we put him in a bed as a last ditch attempt incase it was his cot keeping him awake but it made no difference. We tried night lights, teddies, music, low radio to keep him company, baths, and we had always been very strict on bedtime routine and stuck to it rigorously but again nothing had an effect. I was working 4 days a week and got to the stage of driving through red lights through sheer tiredness. 
The doctor was as useful as a chocolate teapot telling us to do the things we had been trying for over a year. The health visitor was even worse and just responded to anything I said with 'ohh that's sounds a good idea, let me know how he goes'. In the end I rung his consultant and he agreed to give sedatives again but again there was no difference, he was one of the rare cases where he over-rode them.

We then went down the diet route, and went on the FeniGold diet and removed everything and anything from his diet, and also took him for food tolerance testing.  All the usual suspects came up, even though the test was a huge struggle as he wouldn't sit still for it, but we preserved and got some results.  However, the main culprits we had removed from his diet long ago such as monosodium glutamate, colourings, tartrazine. Nothing was working and I was a wreak. I was fed up to the back teeth of being told he was going through the terrible two's - it seemed to me, no-one elses child was as bad as mine.  I dreaded all social occasions and around his second birthday social invites began to get few and far between.
Around the time Little Man was 18 months old we had decided to start trying for number 2, however after 8 months of me still having no periods after coming off the pill, we were worried and made the appropriate appointments, after all I had fallen pregnant with Little Man in the space of 10 days! Long story short, they told us I was not ovulating at all and started doing tests. In hind sight, I think my body had shut down through simple sleep deprivation and stress. As well as the fertility appointments, I also went to my doctors and asked to be referred to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and the Children's Development Centre as I was convinced there was more to Little Man than being a 'spirited child'.
This is where out fight began.  I am in the science side of things and had access to lots of information and papers and had done my reading. I was convinced Little Man had ADHD even at 2 (I also think, no, know my husband would be diagnosed as an ADHD adult if he was ever tested, but that is by the by).I was also concerend that he was displaying autistic traits. It took countless numbers of going to see the doctor and getting the consultant from his prematurity days involved to get an appointment, after all what would I know, I was only his mother, and the fact I actually understood what I was talking about due to my scientific background didn't get recognised.  Just as they agreed to refer us, and sent the letter off for which I asked for a copy, I eventually fell pregnant. This was April/May time, the appointment eventually come through for November due to it being 'lost' apparently. 
The appointment at CAMHS was a disaster. The lady had a very heavy foreign accent which was difficult to understand, and at times we had to ask her to repeat things, Little Man just ignored her, even when she questioned him, and refused to look at her which she said was normal when a child meet someone new, he wouldnt engage with her. We were all asked to go as a family, and then shown into a room the size of a broom cupboard, with a wooden dolls house in it, and a few books and that was it. Little Man began to try and rip all the clothes off the wooden dolls (the clothes were stuck on with glue). He then emptied the whole house of furniture and placed each it back where it should of been, not higgledy, piggeldy, and got very angry with her when she stuck a chair in a bedroom.  She read the letter, asked us lots of questions, asked why we hadn't chased the appointment if we were so concerned so we explained about the last few months - see next post about Mini Man's arrival. She asked us the same question a couple of times, and then said she would be in touch. We walked out feeling like we had not gained anything.
2 months later her report landed on our doorstep - her valid opinion stated 'we were over anxious parents with a highly active child who was just pushing his boundaries and reacting to the arrival of a new baby and the fact mother had had a difficult pregnancy and there were no areas of concern. She also recommended that we didn't need to be seen by CDC'. Her report was also largely inaccurate, and she clearly had not listened to answers we had given her. She had also paid no attention to the date of first referral, that is before I even got pregnant, so failed to see that we had raised concerns before Mini Man was even concieved. To say we were devastated was an understatement.
I will continue our journey on the quest for a diagnosis for ADHD and / or autism as I populate my blog which is a work in progress.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Listography - inventions

This weeks listography from Kate Takes 5 is about inventions, so without further ado, I will list mine (before I look at anyone else otherwise I will get confused and realise there are many more ideas out there!)

  1. A time machine of some description be it like Doc Browns from back to the future only smaller, or the time piece Hermione from Harry Potter wears, I don;t care, I simply do not have enough hours in the day so this would be top of my list
  2. A transporter - bit of a common theme here as this is linked to number one, I am seriously lacking in hours per day so a transporter where I could stand on a spot, be dematerialised, and then rematerialise in a matter of seconds in a new place would save no end of time, be greener, lower my carbon foot print and generally make me a happy camper.
  3. A meal pill. I love to cook but I get so fed up of meal planning and trying to come up with a variety, that I often think a pill for each day of the week which could substitute an evening meal would be ideal.
  4. Some cheap way that us commoners could use for permanent, pain free hair removal in all the places us delectable women do not want hair sprouting.
  5. A volume button that can be installed on children (and possibly an adult version for husbands). I love to hear the kids playing and enjoying themselves, but there are times when I volume button might be quite nice just to turn them down a notch!
If you would like to see what everyone else would like to invent then pop over to Kate's blog and take part.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Reasons to be cheerful 1,2 3

Well, I have had a few unplanned weeks off due to work commitments and lack of internet connection in a rubbish hotel last week.  I even wrote my posts in word in the hope I could post later but it never happened. I often say this but this link does make me assess what is good about my week.  Today I have been feeling pretty homesick and really missing my boys, and I can't wait to go home on Saturday which is number one reason to be cheerful (instead of sitting feeling sorry for myself).  So here are my reasons this week.
  1. I am currenlty in Switzerland away from the boys, I arrived on Tuesday, leaving the house at 4.30am so didn't see the boys on Tuesday and I won't get home until about 10pm saturday night but I am more than halfway there, with only 2 days to go - yipppeee
  2. This week has bought me to one of the most beautiful places I have visited, see this post here to see what I mean. Although I am feeling pretty homesick right now, I guess I am also very, very lucky to get opportunities like these to visit different countries while being paid and being able to claim it all on expenses.
  3. Tomorrow one of my closest friends is coming to see me here in Switzerland.  It does sound a bit above and beyond the call of duty for a friend but she is currently working in Switzerland for 9 months, and is only 2 hours away on the train so she has taken the day off and is coming to meet me at lunchtime as my sessions finish at 12 and then I only have to return for an hour at 6pm. I am sneaking her into my room for the night and then we can spend time exploring on Saturday before my flight back home later that day, so I am VERY excited!
  4. I have been able to use this weeks conference and the one I attended last week to do a bit of networking for myself and might have made quite a good contact with a cancer charity who have asked for my CV and are currently looking for writers. It won't be the same rates as I normally charge but I really don't mind as I have always wanted to work with charities and their patients, so would even consider doing their patient information leaflets for free.
  5. T'husband and I have had a bit of a rocky patch for a while now although things in the last 6 months have taken a massive leap in the right direction.  2 weeks after he moved North for his job last August, I lost the solitare in my engagement ring and with me working full time and essentially being a single mum during the week and co-ordinating moving 200 miles alone, my engagement ring got stuck in a box and never addressed.  Last weekend t'husband insisted enough was enough and has organised to get a new solitare put in it which has really confirmed to me that we are definately going in the right direction.  I was devastated to lose it, but I think deep down I wanted him to be the one to sort it out, and he has done :)
  6. Last sunday Mini Man insisted he could ride his bike withut stablisers.  Now this is the child who had zero balance control until he was about 3 and a half, regularly falling flat on his face, and never putting his hands out to stop him, so we have had countless teeth through lips, bruised heads, scrapped noses, and grazed chins.  Needless to say we were pretty hesitant about taking the stablilizers off.  Before t'husband had even finished picking them up, mini man had jumped on his bike and taken off down the drive by himself without even a backwards glance - how proud am I?
  7. Ohh final one which I had forgotten, Mini Man's playgroup had a raffle to raise money for the guide dogs and I have apparently won a bottle of wine which I am really looking forwards to opening at the weekend!
Think that is enough reasons for tonight! I feel miserable do this post and could then spend all night listing 100's of reason to be cheerful, which is why you should pop over to Mummy from the Heart's blog, it really does have a feel good factor!!

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Oh, the hardship!


I have previously mentioned that I work for myself as a medical writer/communications provider, which means I have to find my own work and can not always be choosey.  I have been really lucky and managed to become a preferred freelancer for one med comms agency and they provide me with enough work per month to keep us going.

Back in April they asked me to attend a conference out in Paris which is a place I have always wanted to visit.  I was put in hotel right in the centre, literally 10 minutes walk from the Eiffel Tower, and Arc d’Triump and managed to get in most of the sites in the 3 days I was there, including The Louvre and the Church of Notre Dame.

From this conference I had to do the scientific write up for the client showing what had been discussed in their sessions and also the competitive intelligence.  This was the first big thing I had done for this company so I obviously put a hell of a lot of effort into it which involved working through the night twice, something I haven’t done since Uni days (however that was due to beer and dancing being more important than assignments!).  Both the agency I had represented and the client were very pleased with the results. I was very chuffed!

Downside is I have now become the preferred writer for conferences and June has proved a very busy month. Last week I was attending a 4 day conference in London, and was home for 2 days and have then had to fly out to Switzerland for 5 days which I hate as I am missing my boys more than anything and have never done anything like this before and been away from them for longer than a few nights.  They are having a ball though and each call home I am told they had pizza with Daddy or Daddy let them stay up late or has taken them somewhere, or tea at Grannie and Grandad’s so I needn’t worry about them missing me obviously!!

However, oh my god how beautiful  is Lugano in Switzerland!. The client decided that I was going at the last minute so most hotels were booked and I have ended up in a junior suite with a massive balcony in a 5* hotel. It is amazing and I have never (and probably never will) stayed in a place like it.  It is also sitting right on the shore side of Lake Lugano and the views are out of this world, as is the weather.  I am currently sat in the restaurant at the congress centre making one coffee last as long as is humanly possible (it is also amazingly expensive out here – even though I will claim all my costs back, my room for 4 nights will cost nearly £1800 and a sandwich in the hotel is about £15.00!!!!). Anyhow I am thinking I need to go inside as it is so hot I can feel my skin beginning to tingle and being at a Lymphoma/Cancer meeting, I recon sun burn would look very, very bad.

Here a few pictures of the view from my room- I guess this is the perk of agreeing to do some travel for work, along with the money side obviously.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Listography goes travelling

I have had a few unplanned weeks away from my blog due to school holidays and then a works conference with unbelievably no Internet connection and god did I feel like my legs had been cut off!  I am off again next week for work and I am praying that this next hotel has a much better Internet connection that I can use, otherwise I might just go mad (well madder than usual).

Anyhow as a result I have missed the last few listography's and Reasons to be Cheerful, I did try and do them but my stupid phone doesn't seem to want to let me post at the moment.

This weeks listography is places I would like to visit.  I too did alot of travelling during my University years, I think one of my favourite places has to be Guatemala, especially the old town of Antigua, and the worst possibly Honduras.  There are many more places that I dream of going still and I think now it will be one of those retirement plans!  So here are my 5:

  1. Japan - don't ask me why but I would love to go to Japan, although I know that much of it has now been devastated and it will be a very different place. Their culture fascinates me, as do the people, and I would love to see the whole different society with the 'city' life and then the more rural life.

  1. China - I would love to see Hong Kong, and China, and walk the Great Wall of China. My Great Aunt saw the Great Wall as a child in the early 1900's and use to tell us fascinating stories about it. Her father was a Master Mariner and for a time the family lived on board with him, and their mother educated them on board.  She always had some gem of information and fascinating story, She gave me a china, hand painted tea set which an elderly Chinese man had given her in Shanghai port, and I still have it. Of course there was a story behind why he gave it to her as well.  One ambition of mine is to walk the Great Wall of China

  1. The Grand Canyon - I don't think this needs much explanation! Just look at the views

  1. Italy - this would be a dream come true for me. I would love to see all the sights, Rome, the Vatican, The Colosseum, the shops, the cafe's - everything.  I always hoped I could make it my honeymoon destination but after the cost of a wedding reality set in :) I wonder if me flying in Milan and then getting a shuttle bus to Switzerland next week for work counts?

  1. Kuala Lumpar - again I  think this stems from living with a Malaysian and he often talked about how different the cultures in different parts of Malaysia were, the cultural differences.  One thing that I really remember from my time in Central America is how much is grounds you, makes you realise how materialistic our world and life is and makes you fully appreciate the small things in life.

of course I could go on and add New Zealand, Australia, the Philippines, Iceland, Brazil, Russia and a whole host of others. Right now I would be happy with going anywhere with the family! If you are interested in other people's top 5 destinations, then go and check out Kate Takes 5 listography

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Where's the On button mum?

This is something that made me laugh!

It dawned on me at the weekend that the boys no longer have any garden toys as they have outgrown most of them and we gave them away when we moved.

Later that afternoon I popped to Sainsbury's for milk and saw a Swing ball on offer so decided to get it.

I was very excited about this as Swing Ball was always one of those toys I was desperate for as a child and we never had. The boys took a good interest, asking what you did, practicing swinging the rackets, and helping to set it up, especially enjoying filling the base up with the hose pipe!

T'husband and me decided to give the boys a good demonstration of how to play the game, and then we left them to it.

2 minutes later Mini Man comes dashing into the house shouting 'Where's the on button mum, we can't get it to work'

Child of our times!

Monday, 6 June 2011

Right, thats it!

I am very behind on my blog - yet again but it has been half term to be fair and I haven't had a moments peace as I have also had t'husband off on holiday as well, so 2 boys and a husband demanding my attention = no time for me! 

The week began well, although we didn't do much as there is still so much to do around the house and as the boy's school tag 3 of their inset days onto the whit half term we decided we would do most things this week before they went back to school, so it would be quieter such as digger land, cinema etc.

However, best laid plans and all as they say. As the week went on their behaviour got progressively worse. We went out for a walk each day sometimes for a couple of miles or on bikes or scooters but it didn't help. We have been feeling Little Man's medication is not quite as effective as it was anyway, but this week it felt like we were back to pre-medication for ADHD and Mini Man is very, very good at copying Little Man's behaviour.

I think the worse thing I find with my boys is their lack of respect.  Its like it doesn't exist.  Toys are constantly being broken and the attitude is 'oh well, we will get another one', books ripped, clothes torn and I am not just talking general kids wear and tear here, I am meaning Little Man taking a pair of scissors to his pyjamas 'to see what happens if he cuts them', even the furniture is not looked after, they think it is an assault course and trampoline, a while back there was an incident which involved a full bottle of my favourite (expensive of course) perfume, and well a then empty bottle and fume induced headaches each morning when we woke up for about a week. I now can't stand the smell of my once favourite perfume! This week alone, they have broken a window in the playhouse because they thought they might as well as it was cracked, smashed toys with bricks in the garden, pulled the curtains and pole down from the small bedroom leaving a big chuck of plaster missing and no way of putting it back up that we can see, and ripped pages out of a book of mine which holds a fair bit of sentiment for me, oh and somehow my clematis plants in the garden and my climbing roses seem to have magically shrunk to about 1 foot tall by themselves.  So as you can imagine I was a very unhappy Mummy by Sunday.

As each incident has been disciplined in its own right and they certainly do not get away with blue murder as one might think from their behaviour by Sunday I had had it.  I had already threatened anything more broken would result in them losing a favourite toy for me to take to a charity shop and so I did.  This was met with complete wailing and whole world collapsing by Mini Man, but Little Man flipped and went mental (that's for another post, another day).  I went as far as putting toys in a bag and driving round the block to prove my point (I hasten to add that t'husband was at home so I didn't leave them there alone!). I didn't take the toys to a charity shop, they are still in my car, as the one Mini Man gave up was a very expensive Hornby train for his train set which we couldn't afford to replace, but I wanted to prove a point.

Due to Little Man's melt down, and then continued aggressive behaviour, we then took the step of getting them both to pick 6 toys they wanted to play with each, and the rest, Wii, and DS included have been put in the loft, everything is up there.  They have been allowed to keep their 6 toys, all books, games such as jig saw, operation, monopoly, domino's etc which we can all play and GeoMag etc, but everything is gone and they have to earn it back each week. 

I think the message has hit home. Today we put Little Man on the next dose up as an experiment (he has a medication review on Wednesday anyhow, and we know this next dose is OK as it is what he started on a year ago but we felt it was too strong for him). Needless to say we have had model behaviour today and a fab day. Sadly Digger land was taken away sometime last week as a punishment so instead while we planted our new hedge, the boys gathered stones off the drive, found some green army men in the garden (which had slipped through the loft net) and set up a battlement, and played for over an hour at trying to knock each others battlement and army men down by bowling stones.  Later they dressed up and were playing a game.  It was so refreshing to see them playing together, using their imagination and enjoying it.

i hope the lesson has been learnt. I felt awful doing what we did, but they need to learn respect and learn that things can't be treated badly. fingers crossed!