Wednesday, 31 December 2008

New Years Eve

I finished Jack’s blanket last night which I am very pleased about. I did enjoy making it but by the end I was getting a bit fed up with being so close yet so far. Photo left. Jack likes it but refused to take it to bed with him. He wants it to stay downstairs, so it will live on the sofa.

I have started a second sock tonight - the other one of the pair I started making a while ago. Despite the fact they are too big for me I may have to keep them for myself anyway as I just love the colours. Sorry Craig. You can have the next pair!!

Tonight is New Years Eve. I’m not a huge fan of NYE I have to admit and don’t celebrate. I like the idea of New Year New Start though.

I have a few things I want to achieve this year. Ok, a lot of things!! I won’t list them but I hope to be able to post again this time next year and congratulate myself on how many I did.

It also means that I can’t fob people off with the response “oh, not until next year” when they ask me when I’m due anymore. And I can’t kid myself that I still have months to go anymore either.

One thing I won’t be doing is buying anymore fabric, yarn or craft stuff. Well, that is the intention anyway. I want to use up as much of what I have as possible over the next 12 months.

So, Happy New Year to you. Thank you for reading my blog in 2008, I hope you find it interesting enough to come back in 2009! And I hope your 2009 is a good one.

Friday, 26 December 2008


It’s Boxing Day already!! I can’t believe Christmas is over again for another year. It was a lovely day though. Nothing much happened, we didn’t get dressed and the curtains and blinds still haven’t been opened since we shut them on Christmas Eve!!

The children were up at about 5.30am but we told them they had to wait until 7.30 before they could open their stockings. It was 7.52 when they came back to our room to ask if they could open their other presents. Being mean (and tired!!) parents we told them they had to wait until we got up. We made them hang on until 8.30 and the opening began.

They were all pleased with what they got. I did plan to do a scrap booking layout of each of them holding their favourite thing but none of them could decide which is great.

I managed to do quite a bit of Jack’s blanket which was good as well. Only another 8 balls of wool to go and then it’s finished (my aim is to do 2 balls a night minimum). I’ve also finished a pair of socks and a hat for the baby. The socks were really simple and I have quite a bit of the wool left so I will probably do another couple of pairs.

The bathroom is coming on. I do have a shower and a toilet now which is great - I cannot tell you how lovely it is to be able to have a shower every day again. And not having to traipse upstairs for the toilet is great as well for someone who is 34 weeks pregnant.

Hopefully the builder will be coming back the week the children go back to school to finish off, but it is looking great. The tiles are lovely, the shower is fab, it’s all great!! I didn’t take any before photos which is annoying, although I do have some from when we first moved in. I will post them and the after ones once it’s finished.

I can’t believe a week of the school holidays is over already. Why do they have to go so quickly?? We haven’t done anything really. I’m hoping to organise some craft activities for them for next week.

I’m now 34 weeks which is in some ways a bit scary - I don’t know where the time has gone, I still don’t feel “that” pregnant. While I can’t wait to be holding my baby I also don’t want the pregnancy to end. I love feeling the baby moving around and I love my bump. There’s also a part of me dreading the sleepless nights, the total exhaustion, the wondering if you’re ever going to get another full nights sleep.

We seem to have escaped too much illness this year. Apart from everyone coughing and a few colds we’ve all been well which is nice. Normally everyone is ill over Christmas. I hope I haven’t spoken too soon!!

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Another week goes by

I started writing this several days ago and was waiting to get round to getting some photos but haven’t done it. I know blogs are far more interesting with pics but I’m afraid this will be another one without. Yet another week has passed, another week closer to Christmas and another week less of our lives to live.
The reason I started up this blog was to document the process of getting Millie formally diagnosed with Aspergers. We’ve been having regular appointments with a psychologist and can now announce that she doesn’t have Aspergers. She doesn’t appear to be on the Autistic spectrum at all. But we don’t know what the problem is. The most likely conclusion is that she is just immature for her age and whether or not there is a reason for that is still unclear.
In some ways I am disappointed. I kind of wanted a label for her so that we could explain why she behaves the way she does easily, but it looks like we can’t. She’s just got her funny ways and probably always will. She hates change and has very definite ideas about things but maybe she is just highly sensitive. I feel that I need to just accept she is the way she is without needed a label for it, without constantly searching for answers. She is going to see the psychologist again after Christmas and we’ll see what she says then.
However, the process has made me more convinced that Bethany has Aspergers but I’m not going to pursue it. I don’t see the point now she is soon to leave school.
As well as that we have been preparing for our new en-suite bathroom to be fitted. I think we started the process way back in August, but it has now all been delivered, and is being started tomorrow. I will be so glad to be able to have a shower again and not to have a bath every morning. I hate baths. I very rarely have them as I just can’t be bothered, so to be forced to have them every day and to have to wash my hair in the bath with a bowl to rinse has been a nightmare. The only nice thing has been the 10 minutes I spend laying back and watching the baby moving around (well, it seems a waste of all the effort of running the water to just jump in, get washed and get out again).
I am not looking forward to the disruption though, or the fact that I can’t have a lie in or an afternoon sleep while it’s being done. I don’t need a sleep every day but to have no option always makes it more likely that you’ll need one doesn’t it? I’m not looking forward to not being able to nip into the en-suite for the loo at night as well.
We also put the Christmas tree up yesterday - that’s as far as we got though. I’m hoping we’ll get the lights on tonight and then the children can decorate it tomorrow. The control freak side of me always wants to rearrange the children’s efforts but I always resist and accept that it’s a much nicer tree when the children have done it than one to my idea of perfection. I wonder how long it will be before the little ones notice the chocolate decorations?? And how long they will last (the choc not the littlies!!).
Craft wise I have made the lamb suit for the teddy and Jack wasn’t well for a few days and requested a blanket which I have started. I’m using Noro Kureyon. I have a pattern which I thought was for a baby blanket and chained the amount of stitches it said but it is very wide so more single bed sized. I couldn’t be bothered to start all over again so decided to use two different shades of the Noro. It’s going to take 20 balls (alternating every 2 balls of each colour) and will be a really good size. I’m really enjoying making it, it’s quick, easy and I love the colours (well, most of them. For some reason Noro always put some horrible colours into their yarn which I’m always tempted to cut out. These balls are mainly blues and greens but have brown in them which just doesn’t go).
I have a load of Kureyon in red shades that I might make another one of these blankets from when I’ve finished a couple of other projects I want to get done. And last year I made a blanket from Silk Garden which I love so I may make another one of those too.
Blankets seem to be this years “thing” for me. I’ve made several. Last year it was scarves.
Since I started writing this entry I’ve come down with a cough and chest infection. I’m a bit worried that it’s going to aggravate my asthma - fingers crossed it wont. The bathroom is under way and is hopefully going to be finished very soon. Admittedly at the moment (Tuesday night) it’s looking a bit unlikely as there is no floor in there still - turned out it wasn’t Craig’s DIY skills that caused the wet floor, but the toilet pipe was leaking. Sorry Craig!

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Cool website

This is really cool! You can make a graph of any website (much better than it sounds!!) Sadly I can't work out how to post the picture on here.

Try it for yourself here:

Friday, 5 December 2008

Socks, soup and seasonal swaps

On Sunday I took three of the girls to a Green Parent forum meet up near Lincoln. I nearly didn’t go I have to admit, especially when I woke up this morning and really wanted to go back to sleep, but the thought of seeing a rather wonderful lady (the author of the Smile a Day blog in my blog list) again and of meeting another online friend plus meeting up with a few other mums from the forum forced me out of bed.

I’m really glad that we did go though. It was lovely to meet up and be able to put faces to names now, and the lunch was lovely. I love soup and we were spoilt for choice with four different ones. I have to admit to having two bowls because I couldn’t decide which ones to go for and now regret not trying the other two as well.

The walk round the nature reserve wasn’t huge fun I will admit. Whinging children are not great company especially when 5 minutes after you’ve set off they want to know when the walk will end.

I also finally made my thing for the seasonal swap on the GP forum this week which is a huge relief. I really didn’t know what to make, no inspiration from anywhere until one afternoon just as I was waking up from a sleep I suddenly had the idea. I wont say what it was at the moment in case my recipient is reading but I will say that blood, sweat and tears went into it. Well, maybe not sweat, it was very relaxing to make, but there is possibly a bit of blood in it where I stabbed myself and tears from when I missed out on an eBay auction for something (yes, I was going to cheat!!) because my internet link went down 5 minutes before the end of the auction just as I was about to bid and didn’t come back until 2 minutes after it ended. I did cry a bit out of sheer frustration at missing it and because I was totally stuck for ideas. Anyway, I hope it is liked. I liked it so much I made another one to keep.

This week I have also made a sock which turned out to be too big for me so Craig is getting them when the second one is done, and a teddy for the baby. I am really pleased with it and am currently making the little outfit for it. Photos of the sock and teddy above.

Otherwise a quietish week. I can’t believe it is getting so close to Christmas. I’m hoping to get the tree etc up over the weekend. Craig is in Germany again next week so I’ll be on my own for a few days which I don’t mind, but I am really needing an afternoon sleep nowadays so I may struggle a bit this time. I am now counting down the weeks in single figures to Feb which is a bit “oh blimey, that’s gone quick”. I’m really looking forward to it, but at the same time don’t want the pregnancy to end either as I’m really enjoying having a bump again.

Oh, I did forget to mention I have been back to see the asthma nurse and am on yet another inhaler. Hopefully this will be the right one for me.

Anyway, that’s it for now.

Friday, 28 November 2008

Coming into Winter

I finished the jumper! It was a bit of a slog as I was fed up with it and the weaving in of all the ends drove me slightly mad but it’s done. And neither boy likes it. Whether one of them will ever wear it I don’t know but at the moment it’s in jack’s drawer but he is not allowed to wear it to playschool in case it gets wrecked.

I was going to make something for the baby but of course needed yarn and needles so have ordered them from my favourite online shop for knitting stuff. In the meantime I am making a pair of socks. I started them two nights ago and am now about to start knitting the foot part so am going really well on them.

I can’t remember if I mentioned I have decided to stop reading online about crafting and start actually doing some. Well, I am keeping it up and doing really well. If I have a day where I only manage a tiny bit I don’t feel too bad because I am at least doing something.

I have plans to make a jacket for Alfie as well. I made a jacket from this particular pattern a few years ago for Sophie from some Hello Kitty fleece but it’s a bit too pink for a little boy. Years ago I bought some Blue’s Clues fleece for Ellie but didn’t ever do anything with it so am going to use it for this jacket.

Over the weekend it snowed. Not a huge amount, but enough to make the snowman in the photo. I think Jack and Alfie enjoyed their experience of snow, although they both ended up really wet and needed stripping off when they got in. The snow only lasted a few hours.

I feel quite sad that we don’t get snow like when I was young. I remember it being knee deep and lasting for weeks, not the couple of inches that only last a day or two at most we get here. I’d love to live somewhere that it snows and lasts for several months.

That’s all that’s happening really. We’ve started the Christmas shopping. It’s easy to buy for the older ones, they know what they want and it’s mainly games so they’re just a case of going into somewhere like Game or going online, but the little ones are difficult. They’ve either got huge lists (Millie’s is 4 pages long!!!!) or in the case of the two littlest ones there are no lists and we have to find something. They like cars and trains but we have loads of both, same with Duplo etc.
Craig and I aren’t buying each other anything as there isn’t anything we need or want (we tend to just buy what we want throughout the year) and there’s no point buying for the sake of it. Although I will admit I have ordered myself a pair of Uggs and a Mama jacket (baby wearing coat) “for my Christmas present”.

I think I will be putting up the tree etc in the next couple of weeks. Still haven’t decided where it will go mind you. Actually, we have two. One in the lounge and one in the dining room. But at the moment my dining room is taken over by my new bathroom suite so until that is done I can’t really do anything in that room.

I would love to do an Advent Spiral this year, and hope to get it sorted out for a few weeks time. Just the family, but it will be lovely. I think it’s a very Steiner/Waldorf thing - does anyone know it’s origins?

Anyway, that’s it for now. Hope you’ve had a good week and aren’t too cold!

Monday, 17 November 2008

Last week we had what had become our twice yearly visit to Centerparcs. We’d decided it will be our last one for a few years as we now don’t fit in the accommodation (well, we could but they won’t let us) so it was hopefully going to be a good one….

The night before we were getting the children ready for bed when I noticed a few red spots on Alfie’s back, one of them was large and fluid filled….. My first thought was chicken pox, but surely not the night before our holiday?? Yep! By morning he had quite a lot of spots all over. We decided we’d go anyway and just keep him away from other people which did mean no family swimming trips or visits to the play area in the sports bar while we relaxed over a coffee or an orange juice and lemonade (yes, that really is what we drink!!)

We stayed in the Executive Lodge accommodation which was nice but a bit of a disappointment this year. Last year it was brand new and lovely - we were the second or third lot of people to stay in it - but this year it wasn’t so nice. Stuff was damaged (the coffee maker looked like it had been chucked around and the dining chairs had been scraped at with a sharp implement for example) and the patio doors had been screwed shut. I know you’re going to get wear and tear but this just seemed like some of the people who had stayed were of the “well, it’s not mine so I don’t care if I wreck it” mindset. I’m the opposite and because it’s not mine I’m even more careful than I would be normally.

I’ve got to the point where I’m just really tired and ended up sleeping quite a lot so with me and Alfie we didn’t do very much at all. Craig took the children out swimming in shifts and we did have a couple of walks. Not much of a family holiday which I feel sad about (we normally do everything together) and it reminded me a lot of my childhood holidays where all four of us (my parents, myself and my sister) would all go off and do our own thing even when we were very young. Even swimming - we'd go on our own from being about 5 or 6. We never did anything all together. We didnt even have family days out really - I remember two and they were both ruined by my mother having one of her strops over apparently nothing, as were our holidays. But I dont want to dwell on all that now.

But it was nice to be away from home for a few days and I had my usual “I want to move” thoughts on the way home. It was lovely only having a few belongings with us and I really liked the idea of getting one of those big storage containers put in the garden and putting all our stuff in it. If we want to use something we can go and get it but if it’s still out there after a year then it’s gone. It would be really interesting to see just how much we actually brought back into the house, and how much we could do without. I would so love to give it a go!!

I finally got to the point the other night where I am fed up of spending my evenings online, usually reading about other people’s crafting and feeling envious that I don’t have the time to do any myself. Well, if you want the time to do stuff then you need to make it don’t you?? So this weekend I have. I’ve decided to only visit a couple of websites now and only once a day instead of my usual several times a day.

So, this weekend I dusted off the sewing machines (and cleared off all the crap that had been dumped on my sewing desk) and did some sewing. First job was sewing on a big pile of badges onto various Brownie, Scout and Rainbow uniforms (embarrassingly one of the badges was from when Millie was a Rainbow. She left about 18 months ago……) It’s one of those things that only takes a short while and I always wonder why I leave it so long.

Next were the trousers we bought in the summer holidays for Robbie for school. Yes, poor mother that I am still hadn’t gotten round it taking them up. So that is also done.

I have also made a door curtain and 3 t-shirts. A second curtain is going to be done tomorrow (had to dye the fabric today). I also spent some time dyeing fabrics - some silk squares for some of the mums on one of the forums I go to, the curtain fabric, and some other bits and pieces. I love dyeing as well, and always wonder why I don’t do it more often.

I know I have that jumper to finish (and no, I didn’t do any while we were away) but I started to crochet a blanket for the new baby with some wool I’ve had sitting on my sewing desk for god knows how long. I had bought it to make socks but it’s not going to happen so it’s being turned into a blanket. I’m about halfway through it. And then I’ll do the jumper. Promise!!

Tomorrow I plan to do the second curtain, refill the beanbags (got some new beans for them today) and maybe make some trousers for Millie and Sophie to go with their new t-shirts. I’m really enjoying having the crafting bug and finally doing something with all the stuff I have. And the stash busting is great too. I hope I can keep it up and make lots of nice things for the family.

Today was Sophie’s birthday. I think she had a lovely day - she liked her presents anyway. We had a little party tea for her which she loved. I can’t believe she is 6 already though - she’s such a tiny little thing she doesn’t seem big enough to be 6. But she is so precocious sometimes - and I was telling her off last week and she rolled her eyes at me. I didn’t manage to finish what I was saying before I started laughing at her (I am terrible at rolling my eyes so I really cannot say anything, lol)

So, that’s been my week. Hope yours was a good one!

Sunday, 9 November 2008


Ponkers!! No, I’m not being rude - remember a few weeks ago I said I had some photos to post, well, I finally did it. And here they are, Jack and his ponkers (or conkers as the rest of us call them). No idea why they are called ponkers but ponkers they are and we think it’s sweet. Jack and Alfie love playing with their ponkers, they’re definitely popular and not going to go mouldy in a box again!!!

What else is happening? Ummm, well, not a lot. The house tidying didn’t quite get finished but it was a good enough job. Yes, there’s more to do but it can wait and the worst of it was done which was the main thing. The girls bedroom was the most in need of the blitzing and was lovely and tidy for a few days…. The thing is, every time we clear that room out we get rid of several bin liners of stuff yet it still gets messed up again despite there not being much in there in the first place. Well, ok, we do usually find 5 or more loads of washing in there (nope, not joking!!!) and loads of washing up, along with a load of other stuff that you can’t work out why they would take it up there, but why do they do it? They love it when it’s tidy, I just wish they’d keep it that way!!

I shocked myself the other day by working out how many weeks I am now. So far I haven’t really thought about it, after all there’s Christmas to get out of the way first and until the birth is actually imminent it doesn’t really matter does it? But I was supposed to book an appointment with the midwife at 28 weeks so decided to work out when that should be. This week!!! I’m actually going next week.

We’ve bought a little snow suit for the baby which is very cute - I held it up on my shoulder like a real baby and it did look as if there was one in there which was a bit scary but sweet at the same time. I almost had a double pushchair as well - I won’t go into the saga of that one, if you know me you’ve already heard it, if not, lets just say my absolute bargain didn’t turn up and I am now in dispute with the seller to get my money back. Sadly, I’m not the only one to have been ripped off by her and there are at least 9 of us I think who were duped. She’s now changed her feedback to private to hide all the neg comments - but it just looks even more suspicious.
I now have to decide it I want to spend the money on getting one from a reputable seller or if I should just forget it.

I think we may have chosen a name for the baby. We have a nickname that we use which is so sweet but not really the sort of name most parents would give their child nowadays. The other children hate it mind you and shout at us whenever we refer to the babe by it. No, I’m not giving any clues away, I have to admit I really hate it when people announce their unborn baby’s names weeks and months in advance. I don’t know why, it just makes me cringe. We made that mistake once and it really took something away from the excitement of making the birth announcement - and was also very embarrassing when she didn’t look like a Rebecca and we changed the name after she was born (Sophie). I’m sure we will change our minds before February comes around as well.

Craft wise, well, not a lot doing. I just started the second sleeve on the boys jumper - I have second sleeve syndrome, lol I so want to get it finished so I can make something for the baby but am bored with it. Hoping to finish it at Centerparcs.

It’s so typical that I think of all sorts I want to put into my blog then when I sit down to write I can’t think of half of it!!

One bit of random news is the Pet Shop Boys are being given a big award at next years Brit awards. Why do I care about that you may ask? Well, Craig and I met through their fan club 16 years ago so they will always hold a special place in our hearts. But they are so old now!!!!! I can’t believe it. Makes me feel old, or should that be, makes me realise how old I am now. Mind you, we’ve done a lot over the past 16 years.

Right, that’s it for now. Take care until next time.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Apologies for not blogging again last week. I really wanted to but needed to take some photos which I still havent gotten round to yet. But I will this week.

I was ill again last week - had a cold, a proper one this time!! The difference between a cold and hayfever is quite marked when you're looking out for the differences. That wiped me out for two days and then Craig was off gallavanting in Germany (ok, not quite, he was there for work reasons). So it was a bit of an uneventful week.

This week is half term and I'm determined to get the house tidied and sorted out. We've done quite well so far but still have a fair way to go. But I'm feeling very pleased with myself (and the children) and hopefully the enthusiasm won't wane before we're finished.

I have to admit I'm not being very good when it comes to sorting stuff out for recycling etc. Most of the rubbish is just going into binliners although the old clothes we're getting rid of are going to a textile bank. I just want to get rid of it all asap so it's not hanging around the house.

I'm really noticing the fact I'm pregnant though - the old back is aching from hoovering etc and I'm finding it hard to get up and down when tidying.

Anyway, that's it for my quick update. The blog I've been meaning to post all week should be here soon, when I get round to taking the photos.

Saturday, 18 October 2008


Ninny Noodle Noo are giving away some gorgeous Ostheimer chickens on their blog (see the link in my blog list or click here: ) Their products are just gorgeous! Oh to win the lottery and be able to buy everything!!! (Would help if I actually did the lottery mind you!!!!!)

Changes afoot!

My last few posts have been a bit negative and I don’t like it, so I want to make this more positive. One of my favourite blogs is by a lovely lady and is called A Smile a Day, it’s so positive and always makes me smile. I've finally gotten round to listing my favourite blogs on here - if I've added yours and you'd rather I didn't then please let me know.

So, what lovely things are happening here? Well, I had a lovely package yesterday from Conscious Chocolate. It’s raw choc that is healthy (or so it is claimed) as there are no sugars or unhealthy fats. What’s more important though is the taste and it is gorgeous - especially the orange one. Sadly I only ordered one bar of the orange so I’m afraid I’m going to have to place another order with them. What a shame!!! They only charge £1 for postage and are incredibly fast. The coconut one is yummy, as is the nutty one. I did order a mocha one which is very very strong so I can only manage one square of that a day. The idea was I would make the bars last for as long as possible. I was thinking more in the region of a few weeks than a few days but we polished off 3 bars yesterday……. Ah well, its good for us.

Got some bars of raw chocolate from Raw Living today. Now, until I tasted Conscious Chocolate they were my favourite, but now I have compared tastes I’m not so sure. But still, very yummy. My only gripe is their postage charge - £6!!!!!!! I wouldn’t mind if it had actually cost them that to send but the label on the package says £2.40. So they lose marks there I’m afraid. If they lower their postage I’ll continue to order, if not then I’m sticking with CC. Mind you, Raw Living do raw cakes as well which sound gorgeous but at £30-odd a cake I’m a little scared to risk it. Any chance of selling it by the slice guys????

A few weeks ago we collected loads of conkers from the trees near school. Sadly they went mouldy in the box the girls put them in and they were too far gone to just wash. We put them on the fire last night and umm, well, lets just say it wasn’t the greatest idea, lol We had a night of explosions as they burst. Luckily we have a screen which kept the sparks in the fireplace. Millie and daddy have gone off to see if they can find some more, hopefully they’re not too late. Next year we will learn our lesson. I love conkers so I hope we will have another nice pile of them very soon.

Has anyone else found themselves suddenly motivated to make changes? Either in their lives or homes? I’m finding I want to do both. Our diet is really awful at the moment, far too much convenience food so I have vowed to start making much more healthy meals for us. I want to be far greener than I am at the moment. Again, it’s something that has slipped so we need to take some time out to see what needs changing and do something about it. It’s so much easier to chuck stuff in the bin rather than take a moment extra to put it in the recycling bin. Another lovely online friend of mine has a blog devoted to Zero Waste and charts their attempts to live a zero waste lifestyle. Very inspiring and no preaching. Lots of ideas of small steps that you can take towards living a zero waste life, and even if you never get there at least you are doing something!!!

Homewise, I have the urge to have a massive clearout and get rid of all the stuff we just don’t need. I wouldn’t say we have a huge amount of clutter but we do have lots of stuff we could easily live without. I have this fantasy of getting rid of all the children’s plastic toys and replacing them with beautiful natural ones, not helped by the arrival of the Myriad catalogue the other day.

We also have a room that is just a dumping ground. It might not be quite so bad if it wasn’t the first room you come into when you walk in the door here. It’s called the games room simply because it has a TV and the games consoles in it, not because it’s a posh games room with pool table etc. You walk in the front door into a teeny tiny hallway (too small to call a hall really) and then into the “games room”. It’s just a complete mess and never stays tidy. Shoes, coats and bags are all dumped here. The shoes never go back on the shoe rack and its just so messy you can’t find anything.

My latest idea to tidy it up is to remove all Craig’s books and things and put them on shelves under the stairs (an open space where the children’s toys are currently stored). Move the filing cabinet out to somewhere else and also the other misc things that are stored in there because there’s nowhere else for them. Then I want to put up a shelf above the radiator and on it have a box for each person where they can just dump their bags, scarves etc and underneath it have more boxes for everyone to dump their shoes, boots, slippers into.

Then I want to move the computer desk from the lounge into the newly tidy room so Craig has somewhere quieter to work now he is working days and put the toys from under the stairs in the space the computer desk will leave.

We shall see!! I would love to be able to post here in the next few days to say we have done it and it seems to be working….

Jack has a little book at playschool where they write what he has been doing. The latest entry is about him drawing a picture. His key worker asked him what it was and he told her it was mummy. She then asked him “what’s mummy got in her tummy?” His answer? “chocolate”!!! He knows me too well, lol

I forgot to mention the other day, when I’d had my scan and got off the couch Jack tried to climb up saying “is it my turn now??” He was most disappointed when we told him it wasn’t.

Anyway, I am now off to get some hoovering done.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Rant and rave

In my last post I mentioned hay fever and that I hoped I wouldn’t get it next year. Ha ha ha. Guess what? I have hay fever. I’ve had it for years. I have all the classic symptoms of it. But because my stupid/ignorant mother always told me I just had a cold I grew up believing that.

She didn’t spot the fact I was having classic allergy symptoms either. So again, I have grown up not realising that what I thought was just “normal” was something more serious. And because I have unwittingly carried on exposing myself to the things that I have been reacting to I have now developed asthma. I am swinging between being angry that I am now unnecessarily ill and feeling stupid that I didn’t realise that the sneezing, itchy watery eyes, itchy ears and throat, constant running nose etc etc wasn’t normal but were all signs of something wrong. And I’m angry that because I was totally unaware I spent most of the summer feeling ill and dosing myself up on Lemsip which was for no reason as it doesn’t do anything for hay fever.

Yet another reason to hate my parents!!!

Anyway, rant over for now.

A few weeks ago I was sent an appointment for an anomaly scan at the hospital which I intended to cancel but forgot to do. The appointment was today and we decided to go along and see if I got in before we had to leave to pick the children up from school - I’ve had to wait anything up to 3 hours to be seen there before so I wasn’t confident. But, shock, horror, I got in less than 10 minutes after my appointment time!!!!!!!!!!

So, we had another scan. All is still well, which we expected. Baby is fine, head measurement was what you’d expect but the tummy was a bit bigger, but she didn’t seem to think it was a problem. She confirmed what we already know regarding the sex.

She asked if we wanted photos so I said we didn’t have any money for the machine (you have to put £5 into a machine if you want pictures) but she accidentally printed some off anyway. At the end she told us we’d need to put some money in on the way out so I said again that we didn’t have any money for it. I could see her debating with herself as to whether or not to let us have them anyway but as they’d have gone in the bin if we didn’t have them she gave them to us as it didn’t really make any difference.

One of the photos I have added here because I think it is so funny. It’s actually the back of the head but looks like a scary face with big eyes and a toothy grin.

I have to admit to being torn when it comes to scans. While part of me thinks it’s nice to see the baby, and it was lovely to see the little arms and legs moving, and to be reassured that everything is ok, I also worry about the safety of them.

There is so little research done into the risks and it’s a very good argument that you shouldn’t have them because there is so little research and if the findings of the scan wouldn’t change the outcome of the pregnancy for you why put your child at any possible risk?

I definitely think the 4d scan distressed the baby. The movements afterwards were not His normal ones, there were more jabbing ones which I hadn’t had before and haven’t had since that day. I just feel that it wasn’t a good idea to have exposed my baby to such strong ultrasound waves and I do wish I hadn’t got carried along by the enthusiasm of the consultant who did the scan.

Having reminded myself of the "joys" of NHS scans and experienced a private one I would definitely go for he private one again if necessary. It was just a nicer experience, the lady who did the scan today was quite snappy with us whereas the consultant we saw was so lovely, even seemed to be more excited about the whole thing that we were.

After today’s scan I did wait to see the midwife afterwards however after waiting for 20 minutes we had to leave to pick up the children without being seen. There was no one around to ask for my notes back so I had to ask the receptionist to let them know and to make sure my notes were posted back to me. She kept telling me I had to let them know myself and had to wait. She didn’t seem to understand that when I said I had to leave “now” I meant I had to leave right away. She stropped off to tell them for me. We shall see if I actually get my notes back now and I bet they will have some comment about me leaving without being seen - but if there is then I will simply write in them that I had to leave and it wasn’t exactly my fault they didn’t see me before I had to go - its not like they were busy either. But that is the last time I will go up there.

Normally I want my pregnancy to last forever but this time round I can’t wait until the baby arrives. I just want to be holding my baby in my arms. I’m really looking forward to meeting Him.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Asthma and Eczema

Whoops, accidently posted twice.

Asthma and Eczema

I went to see the asthma nurse (she’s actually a respiratory nurse specialist or something similar but asthma nurse is easier to type) on Monday. It was a really useful appointment and I have come away feeling more knowledgeable about the whole thing. I am extremely allergic to cats!! Also dogs to a lesser degree, so we’re not to have any more furry pets - I wondered how long it would take Ellie to ask if that means she can have a tortoise when I told her (answer, about 5 seconds!!!) I’m also allergic to timothy grass (no, I didn’t know what that is either) and tree pollen, so by rights I should have hay fever… I am hoping I’m not going to start with that next year.

I was given a prescription for a new daily inhaler, a lower dosage one this time rather than the strong dual inhaler I was given 2 weeks ago (it also has a steroid in as well as the other thing that I can’t remember off the top of my head). I have to admit to being a littler concerned about this as I have started to have to use my inhaler again. But I will give it a go and see - first day with it tomorrow.

I don’t know if it is just psychological but I am finding myself reacting to the cats more and more. My eyes are sore and itchy and my nose streams when I go from our room into the rest of the house. When I go out I’m fine but within 10 minutes of being home the symptoms start again.

So, the kittens definitely had to go, and I will give it a couple of weeks and if I’m still having problems sadly the older cats will be off to new homes as well. I do feel sad as they were cute, especially the littlest one, but they were also a bit of a PITA as well and kept breaking and ruining things.

Craig took them to their new home in my car tonight and then I took Sophie to her club and by the time I got there my eyes were really sore. Was it just coincidence or am I becoming so sensitive to them that just having had them in the car for a short time was enough for the dander to affect me later?

Millie has an appointment to see the psychologist again next week. I’m hoping it will go ok and she will see the odd behaviour Millie has. Craig is coming with me which will be better as I tend to forget things until afterwards which is really annoying.

Did I mention Sophie has got eczema? It started off as a small dry patch on her scalp and has now spread to the whole of it, it’s sore and itchy and the poor thing is always scratching it which makes it even more sore. We’re waiting for an appointment at the hospital with a specialist - hope it comes soon!!!! I’m wondering if it’s an allergy to the cats as well??

Craft wise, well, I bought a few bits from craft day on QVC last week and they have arrived. I’ve been having a little play with them, but not as much as I would like to. I have loads of ideas for scrapbook layouts, I just wish I had the time to actually make them!!

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Little Monsters

When Jack and Alfie disappear for more than 5 minutes and everything is quiet you can usually find them in my bathroom playing with my make-up…. This was them after they were caught painting their faces with my lipstick (Chanel!!) They immediately ran to the lounge and grabbed baby wipes to try and clean themselves up. I had to laugh at them - apparently they’d been trying to make themselves into scary monsters!!

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Here’s the second part of what was meant to be a big blogging session last night, but wasn’t.

I mentioned before that I was making something for a seasonal table swap that was organised by a very lovely lady on The Green Parent forum. Well, the swap has now happened so I can reveal that my make was some knitted and felted acorns and leaves. They were really easy and satisfying to make - and I had to make some for our own seasonal table. I’ve added a couple of photos of our seasonal table with the very cute little gnome we received. Typically I have no photos of the acorns at the moment so will add them at a later date.

I’ve also added a photo of my poor wrist - it’s still bruised and sore from the arterial blood gasses test I had last weekend (thanks to A for telling me the correct name for it).

This weekend has been really Autumny - yesterday was really foggy and there is definitely that lovely Autumn smell in the air which I love. I’ve noticed the leaves have really started to change colour now as well. Did I mention I love Autumn???

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Asthma saga

This blog entry is going to be long so I’m going to do it in two sections. First of all my news from last weekend - it’s taken me this long to write it all because it’s a long story, lol And probably quite boring. But here goes anyway.

Since having the asthma attack a few weeks ago I’d been fairly ok. The week I was on anti-biotics and steroids I was fine, and the week after I was ok as well. In fact I was convinced I didn’t have asthma at all and it had just been a chest infection. I was waiting for the practise nurse (from the GP surgery rather than one who isn’t a proper nurse, lol) to ring me to make an appointment for a spyrometry test but wasn’t too worried by the fact she still hadn’t.

Then I had a bad weekend where I needed to use my inhaler 6 times but wasn’t too worried as it worked. However, on the Sunday night one of the kittens was climbing on me and that set me off, but again, the inhaler settled things down.

During the week I needed my inhaler a couple more times but only for very mild breathing problems.

On Friday morning I woke up when Craig’s alarm went off at 5.20am and was really wheezing and having trouble breathing. Despite using my inhaler I was still having problems breathing so used my inhaler every couple of hours all day until about 5 when I was having to use it hourly.

By about 10 it was getting really bad so I rang NHS direct and they advised me to double the inhaler dosage and if that didn't last for 3 hours to double it again. And if that didn't last for 3 hours I was to go to hospital. Well, it didn't work so off we went to A&E where they gave me nebulisers and a steroid injection. It didn't help so they gave me another neb.

By 3am I was so tired that I just wanted to go home and sleep (I was in a cubicle with one chair so Craig had to stand) and I felt really faint and ill. I wasn't breathing very well but as I say was soooo tired I couldn't think of anything other than sleep. They sent me home and I was asleep by 3.30am but at 5.30 woke up still not being able to breathe properly so used the inhaler again, at 6.30 I had to use it again and by 8 knew I was going to have to go back to A&E.

Off I went and was given nebs and steroids again. Breathing improved a bit and then they wanted to do a blood test that involved putting a big needle into my arm and into my artery. The doc told me it would be unpleasant and painful so I declined. They discharged me and I went round to the hospital pharmacy to collect the prescription they had given me. Before it had been handed over I was having even more problems breathing and I was getting really worried (not helped by a friend having told me that a friend of theirs had lived opposite his local hospital and had had a massive asthma attack and still didn’t get there in time and had died).

I was convinced I was going to collapse in the hospital grounds but managed to get back to A&E where there was a queue. I honestly didn’t think I’d last until I got to the front of the queue but luckily I did and the Dr I had just seen was behind the reception desk so got me straight back in. He gave me more nebs and oxygen and I said I would have the test - I lay on the bed waiting for it to start hurting and then he said “ok, all done”. I didn’t feel anything other than the needle going into my arm initially. What a fuss I made about nothing!!!! If I ever need to have it done again I will, and I’ll make sure it’s the same Doctor. I did wonder if he had just done a normal blood test but I now have a massive bruise up my arm to show he did do the artery test.

When the results came back as showing that everything was ok he asked me if I wanted to go home or be admitted. I wanted to stay in - I really didn’t want to go home only to end up back there a few hours later and he said he was pleased as he didn’t want to discharge me either but it had to be my choice.

I was taken up to the Clinical Decisions Unit and given 24 hour oxygen and 4 hourly nebulisers which helped. The following day I was hoping to be told I could go home but they wanted me in for another 24 hours in case I had a relapse.

I hated being in hospital - there was no rest the first night. They didn’t turn the ward lights off until after midnight because the nurses were still doing their rounds and at 1am and 4am Drs came round to talk to other patients - and because they were hard of hearing they had to shout and disturbed the rest of us. Then they decided it was time to wake us up before 7am.

While I was waiting for Craig to bring some things in for me so I could have a shower (the one plus point of the whole thing - our shower has been broken for weeks so I was looking forward to using the one on the ward) a head popped round my curtain to ask if I needed help having a wash. I said I was ok and just waiting for my husband so I could have a shower. “Are you sure?” Yes, I was quite sure. I had to laugh - it was one of the nurses and he was a big bloke with a bald head and tattoos up his arm.

Later on the Sunday I was moved up to another ward on the eighth floor. It was a much quieter and nicer ward to be on and had amazing views over my part of Lincolnshire. We live about 10 minutes drive from the hospital and can see it from the front of our house. And from my window when it was clear I could just about make out my house which was really exciting for me. I know, a little bit sad, but still. Craig brought binoculars in to me but the following day it was too misty to be able to see anything which was a shame.

On the Monday afternoon I was so tired I had a sleep which was disturbed by someone’s visitors arriving loudly. Getting themselves chairs loudly and then sitting chatting loudly. If you’re ever visiting anyone in hospital please consider the other patients on the ward!!!!

I got to see the asthma nurse which was really helpful. They took some blood to test to see what I’m allergic to (they took a lot of my blood over the weekend, lol. I have now got over my needle phobia I think!!) and she did the spyrometery test which I did really well on - my lung capacity is above where they would expect it to be. I have a peak flow meter to check my breathing - at the moment it’s registering around 500 whatever-they-measure-it-in which makes the 100-150 I was getting on Saturday quite scary.

I finished my course of steroids and anti-biotics on Thursday so am half expecting to have a good week then go downhill again by next weekend, but they also gave me a preventer inhaler which I use twice daily so hopefully that will keep me breathing ok and I won’t have another attack.

As the asthma nurse thought it was probably the cats that have caused the problem we have rehomed one of the kittens and are looking for a home for the other two - albeit reluctantly. What if it’s not the cats? If the blood tests show that it is then they will definitely be going.

So that was my excitement for last weekend. This weekend is proving to be far more quiet and relaxed. Ellie did her second 11+ test today (her first was last week) and Jack and Alfie went to a Thomas the Tank Engine Storytime at our local Waterstones which they really enjoyed.

I did manage to get a load of knitting done last weekend (well, there wasn’t much else to do stuck in the hospital) but haven’t managed to pick it up since. But I should have the jumper finished in a couple of weeks and then I can start making something for the new baby.

Saturday, 6 September 2008


I love September. I don’t know if it is because it’s my birthday month or that I just love this time of year. For me it always feels like a new year, more so than January 1st. Again, maybe it’s because for me it is a new year, or because of the fact it’s the start of a new school year which is always a big thing - not just when I was a child but now with five children in school and two in playschool.

September hadn’t really hit me until yesterday when I was in WHSmiths and was looking at the display of stationery while waiting for Craig to pay for Jack’s “Tractor Story comic” (actually a Tractor enthusiasts magazine but Jack seemed to fall in love with it when he spotted it and calls it “Tractor Story”. I have never seen a child as excited as he gets when we see a tractor. Good job we live in the middle of a veg growing area and that it seems to be harvest time as we can’t leave the house without seeing several dozen of the blooming things!!!)

Anyway, stationery. I love it. I love looking at it and buying it and using it. Note books, pens, pencils, rubbers, A4 ring binders, diaries, I love it all. And I miss having an excuse to buy it too.

So September time has kicked in with me and today I had the urge to clean tidy and sort the house (cue the children wishing they could hide, lol) We’ve got some tidying done which is nice, and some sorting out. Lots more to do too.

I’m so tempted to do a big move round of stuff - my sewing table and stuff, along with my craft cabinet and stuff is all in the dining room but the children are always messing with it and there isn’t enough room for it all anymore. I’ve had this crazy idea that Alfie can move into Jack’s bedroom and Ellie can move in with Millie and Sophie or Beth and I’ll convert their room into my craft/sewing room. Then all my fabric boxes that have taken over the landing can go in there too (they are multiplying a bit too rapidly as well!) Oooh, a room devoted to my stuff would be fab, but then I think about the fact there is another baby on the way and he will need a room eventually and then what do we do? I suppose we could make Jack share with Robbie and the new babe could go in with Alfie.

Or I could sell it all and have the clear space…. Um, no. Maybe not!! I just need to use up all this fabric and stuff - anyone know where I can find the time for that? Preferably on the internet as I don’t have much time for going to shops!!!

Something else that hit me today was the baby. Well, not literally the baby, but the photo. I kind of knew what an 18 week old foetus looks like but seeing those photos has really made it sink in. That is a real baby. Not just a mass of cells, or a weird alien like creature but a real baby with a real baby face. And women terminate babies of that age, probably telling themselves that it’s not a real baby yet to try and relive their guilt. How could anyone kill such a cute tiny baby? Well, I’m not going to get into the whys and wherefores but it did hit me that someone could do that and would they if they had seen such amazing photos first?

I’ve been busy with my swap items and am really enjoying making them. Definitely making some for us as well. And one of this weekends jobs will be to change the seasonal shelf to something more Autumnal as its still in spring mode (yep, I am useless at changing it!!) One problem is its not very accessible at the moment as the dining table is too close to it so we’re going to move the table slightly so we can get round there. I have lots of lovely autumnal things for the table so it will be nice to get them out again.

And I’ve nearly finished the crochet blanket. I did have a bit of an annoying moment earlier - I was looking for something in my knitting basket and found another 6 squares for the granny squares blanket all sewn together…… Am thinking of trying to add them to the one I did and making an extra couple of squares if necessary. Grrrrrr!

So much I want to do and so little time to do it!!!

Friday, 5 September 2008

Some news

Ok, I have some news. Most of you reading this probably already know but some of you may not - number 8 is on the way. We are delighted, and after having my scan today I am sooo excited about it. Babe is 18 weeks and everything is fine. Today was the first scan we have had so I was really looking forward to finally seeing him (I always refer to my unborn babies as he regardless of the actual sex as I don’t like saying “it” so don’t make any assumptions from that).

As I didn’t want to have the stress of the usual NHS scan at my local hospital we chose to have it done privately. Oh my goodness, what a difference!!! Instead of the usual long wait (of anything up to 3 hours) the consultant was waiting to greet us as we walked in the door. We went to sit in a lovely waiting room (all leather sofas and nice ornaments) instead of the hot, stuffy, unventilated crowded waiting room at the local hospital. There was a big pile of toys in the corner for the boys to play with (lots of Thomas trains and diggers so they were very pleased!!) I filled in a form and then we went into the scanning room - the boys were encouraged to bring the toys through and the consultant didn’t mind them making a noise (he has 5 children himself).

He asked us what we thought we were having and before checking anything else he had a look and pointed out the sex (and made sure we had several photos of the relevant area!) There is only one babe in there and he was moving around lots and everything is fine. We saw arms and legs, the heart beating away perfectly, the little face, the spine, the bladder, everything.

As a treat, because of the problems I have had with the local hospital and consultant, he let us have a quick 4d scan and gave us some 3d photos that are amazing. So different to the normal scan photos you get. I’d always been less than impressed with the ones I have seen in the past but it’s obviously very different when it’s your own baby because I love them and can’t stop looking at them.

The consultant that did the scan was lovely, he made us feel really special and seemed more excited than we were about the scan. It was such a lovely experience I would highly recommend them -

I am now really excited about the baby - it seems real now and I can let myself believe there really is a baby in there even though I’ve felt him kicking for weeks now. Since the scan I’ve had some massive kicks and movements.

After the scan the first place we went was Mothercare to buy a few bits for the new babe which was lovely. I haven’t bought anything yet and felt guilty about it but have now made up for it with 2 blankets and a monkey.

Babe is due in February, it seems like so far away at the moment!!

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Back to school

So, they’re back to school. While I am sad they’re back it’s also nice to be getting back into the normal term-time routines and getting back into seeing people again that we haven’t seen all Summer.

Millie seemed to have a good day - she came out with a big smile on her face so that’s good and her teacher had a word with Craig and said she had done really well and they’d had no problems.
I was a bit worried then when I got an email from the Learning Mentor asking to see us. I’m such a pessimist I always start thinking worst case scenarios, even to the point of worrying that they think there’s a problem at home that needs investigating or something. We went in today (otherwise it was going to have to be the end of next week) and of course it was nothing bad at all - A just wanted to talk about the School Action Plan for her for the term. She said Millie seemed to be doing really well as well so we’re fairly confident we’re going to have a good term with her.

It was also a big day for Alfie today - he started playschool!!! He was quite excited about it when we left - he carried his new bag to the car (with his nappies etc in) and went in holding Jack's hand. He obviously didn't really understand what "going to school" means but he liked the sound of it, lol When they go in they find their name card on the table then go into the registration room and post it in the letter box.

That was when we hit the first problem - he didn't want to go in so I had to carry him in and help him with the post box. He sat down with Jack and they both said "bye".We decided to wait in the room where they have the coats and things (its a Victorian school building, you go in the front door into the first room where they hang coats up and have a climbing frame, then there's the main room and a small room at the back where they do registration so they have all the children in one place when they've been dropped off (they have 4 staff in there) so there are no escapees.

I could hear Alfie crying but he was having a cuddle so we waited a bit longer and then could hear him and Jack playing in the main room so we left feeling fairly confident he would be ok.

When the boys came out at home time they were full of smiles and seemed to have enjoyed themselves (Alfie was absolutely covered in pink and red paint, I suspect they didn't manage to get an apron on him before he started, lol They know my attitude to paint on clothes is very relaxed!!!)

Jack normally never tells us anything about what he does at school but he was full of it today and Alfie was singing songs.No idea how he'll feel when we take him in on Tuesday - he'll either go in happily or scream when we get there and refuse to go in.

Jack was telling me later that Alfie had been crying because he wanted to go home and a lady had cuddled him (he doesn't seem to know the staff names) and he got all teary when he told me as if he was really upset by it which upset me because it was so sweet to see how much he cares about his brother. We didn't get a chance to talk to his key worker before we left so we're not entirely sure how it went yet but will have a chat on Tuesday (she only works Tues and Thurs).

So it seemed to be a good day - we took them to MacDonald’s as a treat afterwards. Hope they don’t expect that every day he goes in now!!!

Craig and I had a nice quiet morning - with having to go to school about Millie we didn’t have time to go and do anything so we sat and read emails and I did some of my swap (on one of the forums I’m on some of us are involved in a seasonal table swap where we all make something for an Autumn table). I’m not saying anymore than that in case my victim, sorry, recipient, reads this (and if you are reading this, not that you’ll know until after it arrives, I hope you like it as much as I am enjoying making it!!)

Sunday, 31 August 2008


As promised, my update. I did sort through all the children’s uniforms and made a list of what we need. Craig went into town to take some washing to the laundrette and got most of the things on the list. The rest we will get tomorrow as they are from shops that weren’t open today such as the school wear shop.

So that’s good! Of course I need to label it all now…. Hate that bit!

PE kits are all in their bags ready to go. Alfie has got his little bag for school which he loves as it’s got his favourite characters on it.

I had to use my inhaler last night and was amazed at the difference. I could actually breathe!! I did carry on coughing but at least I could breathe. I hadn’t realised just how poor my breathing had become until then, which is worrying. I even managed to get a good nights sleep which was great as I was quite nervous about going to bed. Woke up at 7 and needed to use the inhaler again, but managed to sleep until midday - bliss!!

Had to use the inhaler again this afternoon and had a couple of hours of free breathing which was nice but I can feel it closing in again. It’s hard to know when to use it, but I guess that will come with time and advice from the Doctor.

I was chatting to my cousin the other night on Facebook and he was telling me about an old family story - apparently our great great grandfather trained a racehorse that ran in the 1928 Grand National called Tipperary Tim. Tim was an old carthorse who had no chance - except the horse in front fell causing a big pile up. Tim just went round them all and was the only horse to finish the race. Now the story is true, and there is even footage of the race on You Tube, but the info I can find says that he was trained by Joseph Dodd, who so far hasn’t appeared in my family tree, but you never know! Whether it really is connected to my family or not it’s a pretty funny story.

Saturday, 30 August 2008

A bit of "excitement" for me

I can’t believe I forgot to mention last time that we had potatoes from the garden with our Sunday dinner last week - very exciting as that is the first time we’ve grown our own food! The apple and blackberry crumbles were very nice too. If the weather is dry tomorrow we may go and pick more.

I’ve had a cold for weeks and weeks now. Most of the time it’s just at a very low level, not doing much other than making me feel under the weather but then about once a week/every 10 days it flares up and leaves me feeling really ill for up to 48 hours. I did wonder if it was just because over the summer I’ve been able to relax and it’s coming out because of that, but I am sooo fed up with it now. I’ve also had a cough for over a month now. Mainly at night and it’s making sleeping difficult as I’m just coughing and coughing most of the night. I’m ok if I’m sitting up but as soon as I lie down there it goes again.

This morning I had another coughing fit and was finding it hard to breathe. It was like a tight band around my chest restricting my lungs and I felt quite ill with it. I had an episode like this a few weeks ago but it passed after a couple of hours. I considered going to A&E but had an appointment at the bank that I really needed to go to so decided to leave it until afterwards. By the time I got out of the bank my breathing was a little easier so felt it wasn’t necessary to go to the hospital. As I didn’t sleep last night I went to bed for a snooze this afternoon but only managed half an hour before I was coughing too much again and I could feel my breathing getting worse and worse. A quick look in my book made me think it’s just a chest infection from the cold - better go to my GP.

Soon I realised it wasn’t going to wait until Monday so off we went to A&E. I was put on oxygen and had my blood pressure and pulse checked. They were concerned my heart rate was so fast so put me on a nebuliser which was very weird - and then I had a massive coughing fit which was horrible as I had tears streaming down my face from coughing so hard and couldn’t reach my bag for a tissue.

Anyway, they have diagnosed asthma!! I’ve been given an inhaler and advised to see my GP for further testing which I will make an appointment for on Monday. I’m glad I know what is causing this and that I now have something to help me - I’m sat here wheezing again and starting to feel my chest tighten and am trying to decide whether to use the inhaler just yet or not. Part of me is worried about going to bed in case it sets it off badly again. Hopefully it’s just connected to the cold and once that clears up finally then so will the asthma symptoms.
So that was my excitement for the day.

Not a lot else has happened this week - I finally did the huge mountain of ironing that was piled up. Well, more a whole mountain range than single mountain! And I must admit that Craig did a fair bit of it too. It hasn’t built up again yet, purely because our washing machine broke down on the same day so we’re developing a mountain of washing waiting to be done…. Might have to take a trip to the laundrette before the man comes on Wednesday.

And they say things happen in threes - well, my shower stopped working this week too. I love my morning shower - jump in, get washed, jump out. Nice and quick and fuss free. I hate baths - too much hassle to run and then get in, sitting in the dirt you’ve just washed off yourself and then trying to wash my hair using a bowl as we don’t have a shower attachment. However, on the plus side it means we need to do something about the shower. Not as simple as it sounds mind you. The shower is leaking somewhere and has soaked the floor which is going very soft so will need replacing as well. And if we’re going to go to that trouble we may as well do the whole room as it really needs to be done…. So I am finally going to get my new en-suite and get rid of the horrible one that is here. It’s got to go on credit cards mind you which isn’t so good.

What was the third thing? Ummm, I can’t remember but there was one. But Craig fixed it.
We got the children’s shoes for school. Not as awful as we thought it would be. Couldn’t et Jack to have a pair - he is still traumatised by being fitted with a pair two sizes too small for him obviously so he’ll be getting more trainers. I hope we can find another pair of Thomas ones for him!!! And Beth is in adult shoes now so she’ll get some from the Next catalogue if I get round to putting in the order.

Just got to go through all the school uniforms to see what they need then go out and get it. And I must find an In The Night Garden backpack for Alfie who starts playschool on Thursday. If he likes it. He’s so little still that we’re having second thoughts. He’s only 2, still a baby, but in some ways I think he’s ready. If he likes it he can stay and if not we’ll be quite happy to take him out until next year.

Tomorrow’s job is to sort the uniforms and I will try and report back to say I’ve done it. Promise.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Time is flying!

I haven’t written anything for ages - sorry! I don’t know where the time is going to at the moment, the school holidays have flown by again and once again we’ve done nothing we planned. Partly because we’ve all been ill with one thing and another (another reason for not updating my blog) and partly because - well, the school holidays always fly by. Every single year I get to this point and wish we could have another six weeks of doing not a lot but enjoying the time to relax and do our own thing with no time constraints. And yes, home educators, I do wonder if we should take them out of school, lol But we won’t - I think the fact they are at school means we appreciate every moment of them being at home even more.

So I have just over a week to sort out uniforms and shoes etc - once again it will be a last minute rush. One year I did manage to get it all done and labelled by the second week of the holidays and that was such a lovely smug feeling. Maybe one year we’ll manage it again!!

We have some changes happening this year - Alfie starts at playschool two mornings a week. Well, that was the plan. And I was really looking forward to having a couple of hours to myself. But we keep looking at him and thinking he’s way too young. He was two in June so he is still only a baby. So whether we will actually go ahead and take him in for his first day next week is still up in the air. We may give them a call and cancel the place (I know they could fill it several times over if we did so I wouldn’t feel too bad about it). Or we may see how he goes and if he hates it take him out, and if he loves it then we’ll be happier about it. He’ll be with Jack so it won’t be as if he’s just left on his own - then again, those two together are so mischievous they could get up to all sorts.

Just this morning I could hear Jack in Alfie’s room and the pair of them were giggling away about something, and last week I went up to get Alfie out of his cot to find Jack in his room and they were both eating the breakfast Jack had come downstairs for and taken back up to share with him. They are so cute together, play so nicely. And then they’ll have a big fight over a train or something.

Yesterday we went to the local country park and picked blackberries, one of our August traditions - and like every year we got halfway there and realised we’d forgotten a box to collect them in. Luckily we were going to Asda (or Hanster as Jack calls it….) anyway so we bought some plastic boxes and filled them with lovely juicy blackberries that I have just remembered are still in the fridge waiting to be made into apple and blackberry crumble (apples courtesy of one of our many fruit trees). Despite the amount we collected the children ate loads of them. Alfie wasn’t too sure at first but just one sweet berry was all he needed to get a taste for them and all the ones I picked were grabbed and gobbled by Jack and Alfie who spent the whole walk saying “more berries please”.

Craig held out a handful of berries to Alfie but before I could finish saying “don’t offer him all those he’ll have the whole lot off you” he’d grabbed them and stuffed them all into his mouth (bear in mind Craig has big man hands so how Alfie even fit them all into his little hands let alone his mouth I will never know). I so wish I’d had a camera to take a photo of him with berry juice pouring down his chin as he chomped his way through them. It’s a good job I’m not worried about my children wrecking their clothes - they all came home with red stains down their fronts and red hands.

Did I mention we’d decided to take the dummy away from Alfie? He’s had one since he was about 14 months old because he just wanted to be latched on 24/7. If he was my only child it wouldn’t have been so bad but having 6 others that need me as well I just couldn’t do it anymore so we resorted to the dreaded dummy. I really hate them, but I am so glad Alfie took to his to give me a break. Anyway, as he’s two I feel he’s too old for one so one day I simply popped it out of his mouth - he promptly stuck his spare one in (he always had one in his mouth and at least one in his hand) so that one went as well. We were reading a story so he was distracted and that was it. He now has it at night, but it’s usually on the floor by morning anyway and he knows it stays in his room.

Since it went his speech has come on in leaps and bounds. He now repeats everything you say to him and you can ask him questions and get a reply other than a nod and a dribbly mumbled around the dummy “yes” or a shake and “no”. So it was definitely a success and sooo much easier than I anticipated - I had visions of weeks of crying and begging for it and me wanting to give in for a quiet life but he accepted it from the start.

I know I promised to update on Millie’s appointment but at the moment I don’t want to say much more than it was a disappointment. I will say more when I feel like it but at the moment that’s all I’m saying.

I started a blog a couple of years ago that was meant to be about the children and my crafts but I hardly ever get to make anything, however, I have actually finished something!!!! Last year I decided to start making a crocheted granny squares blanket and even did a course to learn how to crochet so I could make it. I made about 24 squares for it before I got bored and put off by the fact I needed something like 166. Plus the sewing together of them all put me off too. So my few squares sat in a carrier bag for months and months until last week when I got fed up of seeing them and feeling bad about not doing anything with them. I decided to sew my measly few squares to see if they would be big enough to make a pram blanket and they do. So I am pleased I have finally done something with them. The colours don’t all work together very well so I won’t be posting a photo. I have quite a lot of yarn left over that was meant to be turned into squares but won’t be so I decided to make another one, but this time instead of making individual squares I am just going to keep on going until it’s all used up and decide what it is when it’s finished and I know how big it is.

I’ve done a fair bit of it already as crochet is fairly quick but will probably finish it over the winter when it can double up as a nice blanket to keep me warm as I work. My current WIP (work in progress) is a jumper for the boys that I am determined to finish this winter. I’ve got the back almost done and I think if I can work on it most nights I could get it finished in a couple of weeks.

So, that’s me updated I think. Hopefully it won’t be as long between entries next time!

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Why is it that the day I really need Craig here he’s out? I’ve been feeling really ill all day and have thrown up numerous times and the boys have been really demanding - I know it was just attention seeking but I felt so awful I found it quite hard. This morning Alfie managed to get stung by a wasp - it wasn’t even deserved, he was just sat watching TV when it flew over to him and struck. His finger swelled up alarmingly and he was crying and telling me it hurt. I rang NHS Direct as I was worried about it with him being so young but they felt he’d be ok, and a dose of piriton later he was. Poor little thing!

We’ve had an appointment through for Millie to have her first assessment - not with an adult psychiatrist as we’d been told at all, but with the young people’s mental health team. Apparently it will take at least an hour , I guess they’ll be taking a full history and then decide where to go from there. I’m pleased it’s happened so soon as I was thinking it would be nearer to Christmas. I shall update once we’ve been.

Her ear infection seems to have cleared up now as well which is good. The second lot of anti-biotics was obviously the right one and the spray must have helped too. I think she’s got another 2 or 3 days of the medicine left and then we’ll see if it stays away.

I went to a scrap booking crop last week which I really enjoyed. I started scrap booking 2 years ago when Alfie was born but just don’t have the time to do it (find plenty of time to buy stash for it mind you!!) and it’s reignited my interest. I’m planning to go to the crops at least once a month so I get at least 3 hours to work on layouts and it’s nice to have some “me time” as well.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Sad day

Today was a sad day in the Johnson household. Several weeks ago we got four kittens - we only meant to get two but they were all so sweet, and one was the runt of the litter so Craig couldn’t leave any of them behind (yes, he’s an old softy!!!) One of the female kittens, Snowy, was killed this morning in somewhat tragic circumstances.

The children are really upset and have had two funerals today - Ellie and Sophie got their hopes up that she was going to come back to life as cats have 9 lives don’t they?? I hated having to tell them that sadly she wasn’t going to resurrect.

In other news, there seems to be a bug in the house. Robbie hasn’t been well for several days with sickness. He looked like he’d recovered yesterday but has relapsed again today. Jack has slept most of the day and has a temp over 100. And poor little Alfie has had an upset tummy for a few days.

Millie was back at the Drs today with her ears. They seemed to have cleared up over the weekend but have started oozing and smelling again. The Dr took a swab to find out what is causing the infection and given her more anti-biotics and a spray. Hopefully this will clear it up but he’s asked us to go back in 2 weeks to get it looked at again.

It’s the first full week of the summer holidays and the children are poorly - typical!! I’m really lucky that they are very rarely ill but when they are it’s often more than something minor.

We haven’t done much yet - we usually have lots of plans for the holidays and never get round to doing any of them. I’m thinking of taking some of the children camping for a night, just somewhere local so if it goes hideously wrong we can come home. We might even put the tent up in the garden to play in - I loved having a tent up in the garden when I was a kid.

Friday, 25 July 2008

Poor Millie's ear hasn't got better, if anything it's worse. The gunk is thick and smelly now. Yuck!! I rang the GP to see if I could get an appointment but they said they've got nothing. I'm not too worried as I'd rather take her to the out of hours service at the hospital because I'd have to take all of the children to the GP surgery so that's where we'll be going tonight when Craig gets home from work.

It's been an interesting week with Craig in the office. The children have all finished school for the summer now - hurray! I got the craft box out on Wednesday and there is a covering of glitter all over the house. The floors sparkle, we all sparkle, the cats sparkle (stupid things keep rolling in it!!) and even our food sparkles - I grated some cheese for dinner last night and it had glitter in it. I'll be trying to get rid of it for months, except I probably won't because secretly I quite like it!!

Yesterday I noticed one of the car tyres was flat and was worried about driving it (I had visions of it exploding while I drove - melodramatic? Moi??) Our next door neighbour is also our window cleaner and by a stroke of luck he came to do the windows. I asked him what he thought to the tyre and if it would be safe to go and pick DS1 up and he very kindly sorted it out for me. What a lovely bloke he is!! I know he won't be reading this but thank you soooo much, I am really grateful to you.

Today we've had a day of not doing very much at all - we've just enjoyed plates of fresh pineapple and melon. Yummy!

I love the school holidays - the chance to just chill out together is great!

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Poor Millie has got an ear infection. She had her second lot of grommets in just before Christmas but apart from the glue ear she's never had any other problems with her ears. There's fluid coming out of it and its a bit of a mess so she's got anti-biotics. I'm not keen on them having them unless they are necessary, but I do believe they are at the moment. It's painful as well - you can see how red it is. I'm very tempted to keep her off school tomorrow but it's the last day. I will see how she is in the morning I think - tired I would think as it's gone midnight and I can still hear her and Sophie upstairs playing...

The learning mentor at school sent a book home today that she and Millie have made with all the information she needs for her new class. We need to look through it over the holidays. Hopefully it will help her.

Sorry this entry is quite boring but I want to try and keep it up to date and not do my usual thing of writing an entry and then doing nothing for months. So that's it. Short and sweet. Off to bed now as Craig is in London this week so I'm doing the school run for a change. Roll on Thursday!!!!

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Right up to date

I realised last night I forgot to mention the cause of Millie being so ill - it was a blood disorder called ABO incompatibility. In Millie’s case it’s an AO incompatibility. I’m O+ and she is A+ and for some reason my blood cells were killing hers off. It doesn’t affect the baby in the womb, it only kicks in once the baby is born. In the long term if Millie ever needed a blood transfusion it would have to be very careful cross matched to avoid it happening again.

When my next baby was born she had the same thing but because she was checked for it at birth it was treated at an early stage. Neither of the following two were affected.

So anyway, I’ve been convinced there is a problem, and the word autism often reared its head in my mind. We were convinced she was autistic as she showed some of the signs of it - often she would do things that were just so autistic but then she was often perfectly “normal”.

I’d resigned myself to never knowing the truth, to always having the nagging doubt in my head that her brain had been affected in some way but never having an answer. A while ago we had a meeting at school about Millie as she had been on something called the “school action” programme. I have to admit ‘m not entirely sure what it is, but basically it’s for children who need extra help. They did acknowledge that she had a problem settling into her new class every September and that they would try and help her settle this year. Every year I has taken her until Christmas, and she’s been very hard work until then (mind you, she’s hard work at the best of times). Last year her teacher was fantastic, knew how to handle her, had good strategies to help her cope with going from one lesson to another and she was pretty good.

Every year the school has moving on day where the children spend the morning with their new teacher in their new classroom. Sadly, no one had briefed her new teacher on the ways of Millie and she lost it. Big time. I’m not entirely sure what had happened but the poor man ended up having to get the SEN team in to try and calm her down but she was so far gone even they couldn’t settle her - they are fantastic with her so it must have been really bad. In the end they called us to go and collect her. I must add here that her new teacher is very experienced and it really wasn’t his fault.

Of course she was fine when we picked her up and took her home. She hates school and desperately wants to be home educated. I think home is the best place for her and hate myself for not having the confidence to do it. We did take her out of school a few years ago and it was the best thing we did. She was so much happier, she was laughing and smiling so much more, but we didn’t really do much learning. I know it was what she needed but I did feel a failure and it didn’t help I was about to have a baby. I think we will probably end up home educating her again sometime soon its just taking that step that is so scary at the moment.

For us that was the final proof we needed that there is a problem. It is such an autistic thing not being able to cope with change and we decided we would go into school and speak to them.
The following afternoon we got a phone call asking us if we’d go in to talk to them about transitioning Millie into her new classroom. We were pleased as it meant we didn’t have to make the appointment and that they were taking things seriously. I was going to ask if the SENCO could come in to speak to us as well and was very pleased when we arrived and were asked if it would be ok if she attended.

They told us what had happened on Wednesday and that they’d had more problems with her on Thursday as well. It had obviously affected her badly. We were asked what our opinion of the situation was and I told them how I was convinced she had either autism or aspergers and this was just more proof to us. That was exactly what they were going to tell us - they were worried we were going to be those parents who deny there is any problem with their child so were very pleased that we felt the same. I feel that one of the problems is they manage her so well they don’t often see the odd behaviour and it took that one day to remind them that there is a problem.

We were advised to take her to the GP and ask them to refer her to a paediatrician for a diagnosis and the learning mentor (who has been fantastic) wrote a letter to take with us.
We’ve now had that appointment and the GP agreed that she seems to be autistic and referred her. However, you don’t get an appointment with a paediatrician, you get seen by an adult psychiatrist who spends time at the house observing the family. This sounds a bit scary. I know they’re not coming to make judgements about the family but you still wonder what they will think. We’re now waiting for them to get in touch but it could be a few months.

After spending years desperately wanting someone to listen to me, for someone to believe me it’s suddenly sunk in. My little girl is probably autistic. I looked at her one day and just wanted to cry for her. I’m just glad that it only seems to be mild and I don’t think it will affect the rest of her life too much.

We’ve done some reading on aspergers - we think it’s more likely that she’s got aspergers because academically she is doing so well - and some of it has made me sad. One book, “Martian in the Playground” by Claire Sainsbury, describes how the author felt as a child and that made me want to cry when I thought about Millie feeling like that. It was a really interesting read though, and worryingly some of the traits applied to me!!! A lot of it also applies to Bethany, the eldest. It’s too late to get her diagnosed I think as she starts her final year at school in September so she wouldn’t get any extra help now. But I plan to go into her school after the holidays to talk to them and see what they can do for her to help her through the last year and her exams.

So that’s where we are at the moment. Its just waiting now. In two days the children finish school for summer and we have 6 weeks of nothing much planned to look forward to. I’m really looking forward to it, not having to get up early in the mornings, no packed lunches to make, no school run to do, no homework. And we can go out for the day without needing to be back for pick up time. It’s going to be lovely. I hope the weather stays nice for us but even if it doesn’t we can do crafts and things indoors.

I’ve got lots of plans for things I’d like us to do and make but whether we’ll actually get round to it remains to be seen of course. Every year I have lots of plans and never quite carry them out as the children are having too much fun playing.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

A bit of background - second attempt!

Right, second attempt. This time in a word doc so there’s (hopefully!!) no chance of it going awol before I can post.

So Millie. The title comes from a phrase you will hear regularly in our house when our 8 year old does one of her mad things and we say “oh, that is so Millie!” You’ve probably guessed the blog is mainly going to be about Millie, but I’m sure I will use it to talk about other things as well.
A bit of background first - I suspect this will be a shorter version of what I wrote last night simply because I can’t be bothered to write it al out in detail again. Despite losing it I found it quite cathartic to write because I have found it impossible to write in detail before. I have some photos of Millie from when she was born that I want to scrapbook but I can’t bring myself to do it yet.

I had a very easy pregnancy with Millie with no problems at all. The only downer on the whole thing was when I went for the 12 week scan and they did a nuchal fold test without telling us anything about it. We were given a 1 in 32 chance of her having Downs Syndrome but we chose to have no further tests as we didn’t mind if our child had any problems and didn’t want to take any unnecessary risks with our baby.

She was born after a very quick and easy hour labour in the early hours of 24th April 2000 and we decided to call her Millennium April, or Millie for short. The midwife came to visit that afternoon and commented on the fact Millie was quite yellow. I wasn’t too worried as my previous three babies had been jaundiced and it hadn’t been too serious with them. The MW said she would do a blood test to check her SBR (serum bilirubin) levels the following day but if I felt it needed doing sooner then I should call the maternity unit in the morning.

The following morning my instincts were telling me to call the unit but my rational side was telling me they would want reasons and I couldn’t give them any. She didn’t seem more yellow and she was waking for feeds. Eventually I gave in to the nagging in my head and rang the unit. The MW I spoke to said it was too late to have it done as the courier was collecting the samples in an hour to take to the lab at RUH in Bath. I accepted this, I had made the call, and I wasn’t that worried still.

About half an hour later we got a call back from the unit asking us to take Millie over there and they would have the sample couriered over especially. Off we traipsed and she had her bloods done and we went home to await the results. About 5pm we got another call asking us to take her back to have the test redone. They thought he sample had been contaminated on the way over as the levels were so high. I was advised to go home and pack a bag while we waited for the results of the new test. I was surprised and asked could we not wait until the morning to take her in. I didn’t notice the hint of panic in the MWs voice as she told me that no it couldn’t wait until tomorrow until afterwards.

At 9pm we got a call from RUH telling us to get Millie over there as quickly as possible and to take her straight to NICU (neonatal intensive care unit). So off we went on the 45 minute drive to the hospital. As soon as we got there we were ushered into a large room at the back of the unit. We later discovered this was where the most seriously ill babies went, then as they improved they moved through a series of small rooms towards the door. I was trying to take Millie’s clothes of while answering a series of questions and obviously taking too long so a nurse offered to help me. I looked away from Millie for about 5 seconds and when I looked back she had been stripped to her nappy and was in an incubator having drips and things inserted.

I was beginning to realise that things might actually be quite serious now but it wasn’t until a Dr came to see me a little later on and explained what was happening. Millie’s SBR levels were very high. At 150 they start treating with phototherapy, at 350 they do a blood exchange. Millie’s had gone up to almost 600.…. I was advised to prepare myself for the worst because it was unlikely she would survive such high levels. IF she survived then she would almost certainly be severely brain damaged. The absolute best outcome which was very unlikely was that she would be profoundly deaf. They had blood on its way from the blood bank and had several nurses and two paediatricians ready to do the exchange. Her levels continued to rise to 700. I was told to try and get some sleep on the post-natal ward and they would phone when they had finished.

Amazingly I did manage to get some sleep and when I woke up the next morning there was been no phone call. I tried not to panic telling myself that if it had all gone horribly wrong they would have called to tell me. I went down to see her and she was sleeping. She looked so huge in that incubator especially compared to the teeny tiny babies around her. How could she be so ill?
Over the next week she stayed in the big room as her SBR levels were monitored and she received triple phototherapy. I was allowed to feed her but only for 10 minutes at a time. No chance just to cuddle her, as soon as she had finished her feed a hovering nurse would grab her and put her back in her little plastic box.

Amazingly she had survived, but we still didn’t know what damage the jaundice had caused. As she improved she was moved through the series of rooms until we could finally take her home.
At about 6 weeks she had a hearing test which showed no damage to her hearing, and she showed no signs of that severe brain damage but of course it was still early days and it could show later on.

When Millie was about 6 months she started to display some of the odd behaviour that was to convince me that we hadn’t got away scott free. She suddenly stopped allowing us to cuddle her. I could hold her to feed her but that was it. As soon as the feed was over she wanted to be put down. If she was crying we couldn’t pick her up to comfort her. Over the next few years she continued to refuse to let us hold her. We couldn’t hold her hand. If she hurt herself we had to leave her to cry as she wouldn’t allow us to cuddle her. No one else could touch her either which was quite difficult. If she fell over at toddler group other mums would go to pick her up and I’d often have to shout across the room to the mum telling her not to touch her - it must have made me sound crazy but the resulting tantrum because someone had touched her wasn’t worth it.

After we moved to Lincolnshire she started at a local playschool. I explained to them that they mustn’t try to touch her when she started but they hadn’t believed me at first. After a week or so one of the staff told me that they could now see what I meant about not touching her. They’d thought I was over exaggerating until one day when she was crying they had tried to cuddle her and she had gone into meltdown.

There were other strange behaviours - almost every single night for about 18 months she would smear the contents of her nappy around her bedroom. Nice! And I had a glass display cabinet that she would rearrange to how she wanted it. If I put it back the way I wanted it by the time I walked past it again she would have moved everything again. If I left it she wouldn’t touch it, until I tried putting things back and they would be moved to her liking again.

When she started school she had her little rituals she would have to carry out before she could sit down for the register and she would do odd things like sitting for hours pouring glue from one container to another. There were lots of other things we noticed over the years but every time I asked the school if they thought there may be a problem they always said no they didn’t think so. If I spoke to a Dr they would always ask if school felt there was a problem and when I said no they said she was probably fine.

So for years we were convinced that there was something “wrong” and no one seemed to listen to our concerns. Until about 2 weeks ago…..