Complete?

Someone asked me the other day if I now felt complete after adopting our little one and I didn’t know how to answer. 

You see Daniel has blessed my life in so many ways but he cannot fill the hole left by Livvy, nor should he.

Each of my children have their own unique place in my heart and Daniels adoption was never about filling the void left by Livvy.

Daniel is his own kind of wonderful he has brought a new sense of joy to my life. His smiles do lighten the darkest of days but he isnt Livvy and he never will be.

Losing Livvy took a part of me that can never be replaced. I know that my missing piece is waiting for me in heaven but until that day my heart will never be whole,  never be complete. This missing piece is shaped by blond curls and piercing blue eyes. By a smile full of mischief and mayhem. 

My Livvy shaped hole cries out to hear the infectious laughter that used to fill the air. My heart aches to be whole but the loss of a child leaves a void that can never be refilled.

Daniel is a truly wonderous gift but to see him as a replacement is wrong. Livvy cannot and never will be replaceable but also Daniels value is so much more than that of a stand in.

My cheeky brown eyed boy is his very own kind of magical. His smile can break down my barriers in seconds. His singing and his teasing of his sisters are moments my heart cherishes. Daniel is my son, my beautiful curly haired boy. 

He does often remind me of Livvy, his mischeviousness for one and these moments often do bring back memories that I hold dear, but he isnt tied to the past. He has a future of moments to be made into memories. He will learn of his missing sister just as he will learn of the three here to love upon him. Livvy willl be alive with him as she is with us in memories and stories shared. I will tell him of her character, challenge him with her courage and share with him how im sure she played a part in him becoming mine.

So no I am not complete but I am one very thankful woman, I am so grateful that I get to be mom to four equally incredible girls and now i’m also mom to one completely gorgeous boy.

I am so very lucky.

A special field

This weekend I received some news I knew was coming yet never wanted to hear. My friends child had passed away, disappeared into the hours of the morning leaving behind a heartbroken mother. My friend knew she didn’t have forever but was praying desperately for one more day.

One more day.

How often I would wish for Livvy one more day, one more hug, one more giggle.

How often do i allow grief to consume my heart?

Too often .

This last week I have been camping in a special field in Shropshire, the field itself isn’t rather special but for a week or two each year it transforms into something rather remarkable.

From the grassy emptiness it becomes full with love, laughter and friendship.

It overflows with energy, life and living.

For this time each year this field becomes a place where friendships are forged in life experiences.

This field becomes a place where children the world tells cannot, CAN.

This field is rather dangerous though, it is rife with infection, a infectious disease known as hope.

It creeps up into your soul and you start to believe that anything is possible.

Children who can not communicate start to talk, children who cannot walk take steps.

Parents close to breaking become refreshed, families divided are reunited.

This field has no barriers, its a place where everyone gets to be exactly who they were made to be. Not everyone gets on but there is a freedom in acceptance. We are all walking our own pathways and sometimes they can be overwhelming, but here on this field thats ok. You can cry, scream or break down, complete in the knowledge that we all get it.

Over the last week I have become a people watcher, I have observed shy children blossom in confidence, from the first awkward hello to beginnings of life long friendships.

From fire pits to bouncy castles friendship has flowed around this field, some already a lifetime in the making, others being created in that moment.

I have heard so much laughter than even in my grief it has lifted my spirit.

We have had fancy dress from the cute to the never to be unseen, quiz nights, animals and magic. We have hosted our own special Olympics with a level of competitiveness and determination I still can not get over. A child may not be able to walk but they can scream with joy at whizzing over the ground determined to get a medal on their chest.

A balloon release so painful yet so beautiful, how can the most painful part of the week be the most amazing? My heart breaks as I watch those balloons lift up into the sky, my soul aches for my Livvy so desperately I can hear it scream. Yet as my eyes drop to those around me I am struck by how wonderful life is. How everyone standing there beside me gets it somehow. Some may have experienced a loss, others may live in fear of it.

Yet fear of death isn’t found on this field, fear isn’t welcome here.

This field, this camp is about living.

Its about packing life into every moment.

Its about cherishing one another and holding on to what really matters.

The world isn’t allowed on our field, for a week each year we are protected from the daily battles our lives bring to our doors. People who don’t understand don’t visit this sacred place, every chair is filled with people that understand or accept.

Different struggles, different issues, different lives but we are united in our love, our love for our unique wonderful courageous children.

Our special kids. 

 

  • A big thank you to  all at Lower Lacon caravan park for looking after our special field for us all. For welcoming us in a way I have never experienced on any campsite anywhere else and for also being just truly wonderful people that I am pleased to call my friends.

Weaning fun

This year we have been given the go ahead to really start weaning my little one. Although we don’t think he will be able to eat enough to fulfil his needs it is exciting that he can try new taste’s and experience different textures.

So starting on this journey I was rather chuffed to see that the highly-anticipated Aldi Baby & Toddler Event is returning to stores across the UK.

They have a fantastic range of products which will be perfect for our journey into weaning.

The event  will be starting online from the 10th August and in stores across the UK from the 17th August.

Weaning Daniel is going to be different from when I weaned my girls as he will only be able to eat small amounts so storage and the ability to make my own puree’s is a must, as so far I am wasting a lot of the jars and pouches I have opened.

Daniel seems to be enjoying his tastes and tries and so far we seem to be loving strong flavours and not liking pumpkin but we will see. Todays banana was a big hit.

The smile says it all.

 

 

  • I was gifted the goodies from Aldi’s for the purpose of this shout out about the baby and toddler event but all opinions about it being awesome and well worth a visit are my own.

How I keep my husband happy.

My husband has always been supportive of my writing, my blogging but never as much as he has been this week when I had the opportunity to review FFX one of the UK’s largest independent suppliers of high quality tools, fixings & building supplies.

From our first date I learned that my husband loved tools, then a window fitter by trade, tools were literally his bread and butter. Birthday and Christmas lists often had a power tool or two on them. Now even though his profession has changed greatly he loves nothing better than throwing his work clothes on and disappearing into his man cave a.k.a the shed.

So when I approached him about reviewing FFX he was rather excited and disappeared onto the website in minutes.

So what does he think of the site ?

He found the website easy to navigate and the search function was really helpful. The selection of tools was vast and also covered a range of budgets. The checkout was easy and free UK delivery was an added bonus. Compared to a number of other tool suppliers of which he knows rather well he found FFX prices to be really competitive. I personally realised the site had been a hit with him when he asked me how to bookmark it, something I may live to regret later.

So after a lot and I mean a lot of browsing Alan finally decided his immediate need (want) was a jigsaw. After I established what one was, I was then treated to a slideshow of his top picks when finally he chose the Bosch GST150BCE 240v 780w 150mm Professional Jigsaw.

Following on his previous experience of Bosch tools he already had trust in the brand and this was an heavy duty jigsaw with the pendulum action which he required. 

Honestly waiting for the delivery was agonising for him, we travelled for our daughters graduation and a number of times he mentioned he had a jigsaw waiting at home for him.

Lets just say he was one happy bunny when the jigsaw was finally in his hands.

So what does he think of the jigsaw?

His first answer to this question was “absolutly flipping awesome” which is fine but not great for one trying to write a review.

So lets talk about the  Bosch GST150BCE 240v 780w 150mm Professional Jigsaw.

Features and Benefits:

•High power reserves, even in hard and thick beams, due to powerful and overload-capable 780-watt motor

•Extremely robust and bend-resistant sole plate for the toughest jobs

•High cutting precision due to new saw blade clamping system

•Tool-free saw blade clamping system for easy and fast saw blade changes

•Ergonomic grip area with softgrip surfaces for a high level of comfort during use

•4-stage pendulum action for fine through to coarse cuts

•Electronic speed preselection

The jigsaw’s four stage pendulum action impressed Alan greatly as it really does make a difference and eases your cutting.

The strength of the motor made cutting through wood as simple as cutting through paper. No pressure was needed as the motor did all the work.

Alan loved the quick change blade system, after years of needing allan keys which he could never find this was something that impressed him.

The jigsaw comes complete with a blade and a vacuum attachment which he hasn’t played with yet but is rather excited about. Also a plastic base, glide shoe to protect your project.

A nice long lead which gives you space to move around your projects.

Variable speed, which allows you more accuracy when starting your cut.

Feels comfortable in your hand with a good grip.

It also come in a heavy duty case which has extra space for your extra bits, blades etc.

So as you can see in Alan’s words “Its flipping awesome”.

To be fair even I was impressed when checking out the quality and durability of the jigsaw.

So all in all I now have one happy husband and I also may get a number of household jobs done.

Win win.

Seriously though as one who loves online shopping I was impressed with FFX website,service and delivery. Alan as a tool lover, was super happy with his new jigsaw and is now happily planning his next purchase, need, want.

 

Inspire

The beginning of this week saw me in Swansea watching my daughter graduate university whilst I am still in shock that I have a daughter old enough to graduate, I was left wondering what future was out there waiting for her and all those that graduated alongside her. What did the world have to offer these newly educated minds?

Yet ten minutes later as I sat watching the waves crash against the shore, I realised that I was completely wrong in my thinking.

The truth is what has these graduates to offer the world?

A new generation, full of life, energy and potential have a wonderful opportunity to make this world a better place.

To invest not just in the financial wellbeing of the world  but in the people.

To ask not what this world can do for you, but what you can do for this world.

To inspire kindness, acceptance, equality and love.

Times are changing, our world cannot survive if we all continue to live as if we are individuals, alone in our decisions, responsibilities and actions. This world was created for communities, relationships and connections.

Watching these graduates I was struck by how many were more stressed about getting the perfect selfie, the perfect social media photo then actually rejoicing in their academic achievement.

Have we really become a society consumed by how we look rather than who we are?

Now don’t get me wrong, I love a selfie or three but photographing an event should never come at the cost of experiencing it.

The tears and tantrums for perfection has certainly robbed some joy from this moment.

I think we really need to look closely as a society on how we prepare our children for growing up. Asking them what they want to be when they are older to better the world. Challenging them to be the inspiration this world needs to change.

Every job can and does make a difference.

Every child can be the change we need in this world.

So to the graduates, congratulations on your degree. May it be the start of a career that fulfils you and challenges you in every way.

But please remember as you start your journey that the likes you get on social media are not and never will be your truth, your validation.

Put down your phones, switch off your tablets and look into the faces of those that love you. Your parents, your family, your friends these are your true validation.

I wish you all a lifetime of success, happiness and love, be strong, be brave but always be kind.

This world needs kindness more than ever right now.

Collect

If I was to ask my friends what i collect they would probably smile and say “children” between fostering and adoption my family has extended in a wonderful blessed way.

Yet if I was to ask myself what I collect my answer would be “moments”.

Moments that i get to cherish for eternity

Moments that i hold close in my heart.

Moments that hold my missing complete.

Some moments are full of joy and laughter, other are tender and sweet and some are heartbreaking and raw.

Yet each and everyone of them is a moment I lived.

Sunsets at the seaside,

Peace and quiet in the mountains.

Watching my girls take there first breathe, my heart breaking at Livvy’s last.

First steps, first giggles, first days at nursery, school, university.

Experiences that I will never forget, moments that become cherished memories.

Lifetimes are lived in moments.

So I’m proud to be a collector, proud to have a heart and mind full of some many precious moments.

Thankful for the memories,

Grateful for the moments.

Still I’m far from done,

I am so many more left to collect.

I want to watch my new son grow and flourish, my girls continue to achieve their dreams and love on life.

There are places I want to visit, people I want to meet and many I want to hug in real life.

I want to spend my days collecting, hugs, hearts and happiness.

Not a bad way to collect at all.

 

 

 

 

“Joining up with the “Five Minute Friday” community. Set your timer for five minutes, take the weeks chosen word and write.’

I need some directions

Sometimes i feel confused by the world. It’s as if my compass has lost its true north.  My heart is yearning for something but I have no idea what.

I like plans, i like directions i don’t like this feeling of waiting.

I’m not the most patient of people, the whole adoption process was agonising for me. Waiting for others to do their parts or for reports to come back in was the most frustrating . I was told it should be easier for me as I had Daniel already but having a child on a foster placement is very different to having a son.

I’m wondering if this is why I am uneasy now. The adoption is complete and my beautiful boy is ours.  I’ve finished my degree and my time is my own again (well as much as your time is ever your own when you are a mom). So i’m lost.

I just love being busy, I love having my brain occupied, being challenged. As much as I panic about not being able to cope I am fulfilled when life is full.  It’s who I am, my body often cannot keep up with my brain and my energy often gets exhausted by my will but its me, its what makes me tick.

So waiting isn’t good for me, in fact in drives me insane. Yet one thing I have taken from the adoption process and fostering in general is that not everyone works at my pace. That others have other priorities and thats something I have to accept.  Again this isn’t easy, I expect everyone to work to the same principles as me. If i say i’m going to do something i do it. If i give you a time frame I stick to it. Patience, acceptance i have to really work hard on those in situations like this.

Yet as I have said many times before I am a work in process and far from perfect.

“Own worst enemy” was my husbands comment the other day, he believes in time for relaxation and rest he struggles to understand that being busy and having my mind stimulated is my idea of relaxation. Yet after 22 years of being together he has learned just to listen to me go on and supports me in all that i do.

So whats next for me, what does God have planned and where am I heading? I guess with the summer holidays it won’t be far from the kids as they are certainly going to be keeping me busy, but who knows?

I’m ready and waiting for the next adventure thats for sure

 

A big three

This has been a week of celebration as my little man turned three. Its been a time of  joy but also a time of real thankfulness.

If you had asked me two years ago if could i ever imagine having a three year old again I would have smiled politely but actually wondered if you were crazy. My youngest was 14 and three year olds seemed a long time ago.

Yet from the moment Daniel came for his emergency weekend my heart was his. It wasn’t professional of me to have such thoughts but i honestly believe that that God had his plans and had heard the cries of my heart.

Watching my son celebrate his birthday this week has filled me with such joy. Being surrounded by his friends and the wonderful people that he has brought into my life was so incredibly special. Through Daniel I now have some wonderful friends, some amazing parents who are walking this journey of special needs with me. We have shared some moments of sadness but a lot of laughter. I have seen Daniel blossom with his friendships, becoming part of an unsociable duo, finding his confidence in his group. I love my rainbows.

I have loved watching his sisters love upon him, seeing them forget everything in his smile.

A house full of laughter and annoying toys that go off randomly at night.

Daniel has brought us all so much joy and my heart is so full.

Its been a special week and one I am so thankful for.

 

My baby boy is now a big three.

My favourite photo

This was taken in May this year and it was the first photograph of Daniel without his NG tube. It isn’t my favourite because it’s the first without his NG but because of my relief of seeing that smile after surgery.

 

There is nothing worse that handing your child over to surgeons and theatre staff, you have to trust them with your heart. This gastrostomy surgery was the first we had faced with Daniel and nothing could have prepared me for the fear I felt as I left the theatre, my legs literally felt like lead. I could barely breathe for the hours he was in down.

So this photo is my moment, the moment I could breathe again. 

My son

I looked around the courtroom convinced everyone could hear my heart beating in my chest.

I could barely breathe, could barely trust in the moment.

“Congratulations to you both on your new son.”

It was official

It was complete

This precious gift was now ours to call our own.

Yes i cried, to be honest with the amount of adrenaline pumping through my body i was surprised i didn’t burst into dance.

My heart exploded, the love i had held on too wrapped in chains of fear was now free to fly.

My son

My beautiful precious boy.

Adoption is a journey of pregnant moments.

Full of expectation,and excitement but also full of pain and fear.

A free-fall into the unknown.

A parachute silk woven in faith.

I cannot say its been easy,

A labyrinth of broken promises and painful expectation.

Yet whilst the scars will take time to heal.

Whilst the emotional burden will take time to lift it is with no doubt in my heart that i can say

He is worth it all and so much more.

My son

My precious boy xxx