Things I am grateful for this week.

I was really excited when I read that over at Single Mother Ahoy, Vicky was hosting a new weekly linky called “Weekly Gratitude”.

I try very hard to live a life in gratitude but sometimes I fail terribly. Its that human part of me always letting me down. Anyway this is a fantastic reminder for me. It fact it is a fantastic reminder for us all. Pop over to Vicky’s blog and join in.

Anyway my Weekly Gratitude 

This week has been chaotic I am so very exhausted both emotionally and physically. But yet while it has been hard it is has also been a week where I have a lot to be grateful.

Firstly my family and friends. My husband has really had to pick up the slack this week with the household chores, meals etc. I’ve been super busy with training courses and meetings. I’ve also had some health news which has worried me a little and my family and friends have been so supportive.

Secondly I am grateful for the NHS. No matter how many times we hear news of health cuts and waiting lists. I am so thankful for a health service that is free to all.

Thirdly I am grateful for my children, both birth children and foster ones. This week I have watched my daughter receive an award for all the extra curricular activities she takes part in. Recognition for her dedication to sports teams and music pursuits.  My foster son also received an award for all his hard work and all he has overcome. I am super proud of all my kids.

Lastly I am grateful for a new wheelchair that we are going to fetch today. This will make our lives so much easier and make getting out and about more fun.

So see even in a chaotic exhausting week I have so much to be thankful for.

Thank you Vicky for this linky xxx

 

My new Livvy’s Smile T-Shirt

Over at my alter ego Livvy’s Smile we host many events that require me to wear a promotional T-shirt, both for publicity and recognition. So over the last few years I have gone through a number of tops.

So when I was asked by T-shirt Printing.net  if I would like to review one of their tops I asked with a “hell yeah”.

It was easy for me to design my top with the sizes and colours the site has available and most important was the fact that I could add both the charities logo to the top but also Livvy’s photo.

The site offers a lot more that just T-shirts they have hoodies, kids-wear and workwear too.

I was really pleased overall with the ease of use with the site also the quick turnaround of the order.

Here I am modelling my new Livvy’s Smile top.

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As you can see the quality of the printing is pretty good.

So if you are after promotional wear check out T ShirtPrinting.net.

I am proud of my scars

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I came across this quote last night by The Alchemist author Paulo Coelho. It was one of those quotes that stopped me in my tracks as it is simply words that I could have written.

 

I look back in my life and the heartaches and suffering I have faced and realise that they are my scars and regardless if I want them or not they are my reminders of the life I lived and who I am today.

 

I’m not sure I am one of those people that believe that everything happens for a reason but I know I am a believer in the choices we have to make. Do we let our most painful moments destroy us or do we rise from them a wiser and sometimes stronger person.

 

I can not honestly say that I ever wished to lose Olivia but I can say that losing her has allowed me the empathy to walk along side other grieving parents.

 

I won’t ever admit to being grateful to be living in constant pain but I am grateful that I can understand and support others in the same situation.

 

These moments don’t  always have to be dramatic occurrences they can also be found in the simple things. The kindness you show to others can be the example you set for your children. The opening of your heart to a friend may allow that friend to open her heart to another.

 

Life is all about choices and the decisions we make at the hardest of times and at the easiest of times. They become the definition of who we are.

 

I am proud of my scars they are what made me who I am today.

Keeping my girls safe.

My girls are growing up and as much as I don’t like it I am finding it to be something I am having to accept.

Yet with their older years I am also finding that they want to be out and about more without me or the dad hanging around. While I am happy that they are social and living life I do worry constantly about their safety making sure they have a fully charged phone before they leave and always knowing the general idea of their plans.

Even though I still worry so when I received an email regarding a new safety app I was rather excited.

PanicMe is an easy to use app which turns your smartphone into a personal safety device. It is something that you can download to your own and your child’s phone quite easily.

How it Works

Developed in consultation with local police forces, PanicMe allows you to create a personalised response network of your friends and family who will be contacted when a panic alert is triggered.  A traffic light system (red, amber, green) offers three panic options depending on the urgency of the event and up to 30 contacts from your phone can be selected for each panic option.

  • Red Alert: high risk situation.  You are in serious trouble and danger is imminent.  You may be in fear of being attacked, abducted or seriously ill and urgent assistance is required.
  • Amber Alert: medium risk situation.  You are in serious trouble and may come to harm if help doesn’t come within half an hour to an hour.
  • Green Alert: low risk situation. You may be lost, separated from your group or your car has broken down and you require help within an hour or two.

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The app features GPRS tracking (TrackMe) which shows your panic response network your exact location and also indicates the location of your chosen contacts making it easy to identify the nearest potential responders.  Data capture is activated once an alert has been triggered logging your location as well as any available Bluetooth connections.

When an alarm is raised, contacts are notified by push messages to their own smartphone at regular intervals, which vary depending on the chosen panic option, until the alarm is deactivated. 

David Lindley QPM, former Deputy Chief Constable commented: ‘‘There may be any number of reasons and circumstances why people feel afraid or vulnerable.  Apps like PanicMe offer a simple and practical way to help anyone who feels unsafe or vulnerable. Families and friends can be confident that they will be quickly contacted if the one they love feels vulnerable or needs help.”

 The basic version of the app, PanicMe Lite, is free to download and includes the green panic option only.  The full version, PanicMe Pro, includes all features including TrackMe and costs £14.99 annually.  Both apps are available for iPhone, Android and Windows smartphones.  For more information visit www.panicme.com or like us on Facebook

I am rather excited about this app, it will allow me to feel a little more confident of my girls safety when they are out and about. It works for them as like most teenagers they are never without their smart phones.

Well worth taking a look at, isn’t it. It will certainly help bring me a little more peace of mind.

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KEEPING MY GIRLS SAFE

 

 

I need my coffee

Its a well known fact in my house that mom needs her coffee. With many late nights and too many early mornings I honestly believe I survive on caffeine alone.

Over the years i have in my husband’s words become a “coffee snob” liking only the richer stronger blends.

So when I was approached by Beanie’s  I wasn’t sure as I simply haven’t a taste for flavoured coffee’s but  I did decide to give them a go as their reputation for quality coffee preceded them.

Personally I didn’t enjoy them but I know that this is just my view as the teenagers really enjoyed them. Especially the carmel flavoured one which was described as naughty but nice. Even my husband who isn’t a coffee drinker enjoyed a mug or two.

The quality of the coffee is evident in the taste and for anyone who enjoys their flavoured coffee I recommend them.

They have a variety of flavours, we tried the Caramel, the Amaretto Almond and the Winter Warmer but there are many more flavours in the range for you to try if these are not to your taste. My girls have already requested I get the Double Choc.

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I do really recommend the brand and I think they are perfect to have in your cupboard especially with the forthcoming season. A bit of variety for your Christmas visitors.

My Christmas Hero.

I love blogging but never more so than when I get the opportunity to love on someone I respect and admire.

So when I was asked by Thorntons  to choose someone to be my Christmas Hero I seriously jumped at the chance. It was so simple to know who I was going to choose, as this lady is not only my hero but the hero of hundreds of children.

Let me introduce you to my dear friend Ros

I met Ros about three years ago at our annual camping trip with Special Kids in the UK. Straight away I knew we would be friends but I never expected the impact she would make on my life.

Ros is one of those ladies that tells it as it is but while this may seem straight forward to some her honesty is always full of love and compassion.

She is a mother,grandmother and a foster parent to children with special needs too. She is always busy either involved with family, church activities, special needs or with her charity work.

Yet while she has a super active life she has always been there for me over the last few years.

She is the person I turn to when I am feeling low.

She is the person I look to for strength.

She is my dear dear friend.

But the reason I have chosen Ros to be my Christmas Hero is because of the tireless work she does throughout the year filling shoeboxes for the Operation Christmas Child. Each year Ros tries to send as many as she can to children across the world in need. From the moment the van leaves with this years boxes she starts on those for the following year. Last year Ros and her family and friends made a 1000 boxes for the Samaritan’s Purse. A thousand boxes how incredible is that. When I asked Ros while she does this her answer was simply “Every box is a child’s smile”. A pretty amazing reason from an amazing lady.

So its easy to see why I choose Ros as my Thornton’s Christmas Hero.

To be honest Ros is my year round hero. I think she is  simply wonderful and I am blessed to call her my friend.

Enjoy your chocolates Ros.

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Don’t pity me for being a blogger.

I am getting so tired of seeing the look on the faces of people when I tell them I’m a blogger. It’s as if in that single sentence I have become a second class citizen. As if my writing is nothing but a little hobby that I have taken too far. As if publishing my words is a cry for attention.

This makes me angry probably more than it should, but I am still working on those self belief issues.

You see I don’t write as a hobby.

I don’t write as a cry for attention.

I write and I blog simply because I love it.

When I first published a blog post it was in determination. I wanted to show that raising a child with Special Needs was hard yes, but that it also brought you a lot of joy. I was tired of people feeling sorry for me for having Olivia. I wanted them to see what a gift she was to me.

I wanted to share my ideas and experiences with anyone that was willing to read.

After Olivia died I considered giving up blogging. I felt that I have nothing left to share. Then somehow I found myself writing about my grief and my pain. I expected these posts just be shared between family and friends but then I found other grieving parents contacting me telling me that my words were helping them. That they were finding comfort and strength in my posts.

So I carried on writing

In the last 6 years my blog has become my friend. Its a place I bare my soul and times yes I may over share but I do wear my heart on my sleeve and my writing shows this. I cannot make apologies for who I am.

This blog has been on a journey with me. As my tagline states “a journey through this chaos we call life”.

This blog has brought me some amazing opportunities. I have attended some great events and received the opportunity to write some fantastic reviews.

It has also given me a platform to educate and inform people about Special Needs and Rett Syndrome.

This blog has brought me into contact with people who have become friends, dear friends.

But beyond all this, on this blog I have found freedom.

Freedom to allow the words that have been running around inside my head a place to fall out. The endless journals of bygone days are now being filled here in my virtual diary.

I can accept some may never understand why I blog. But please don’t pity me for being a blogger. I am blooming proud of this piece of cyberspace I call home.

We remember

Today as a nation we remember. 

We remember the servicemen and women of our armed forces.

Those who served before us and those that serve today.

We remember the sacrifices they have made in the protection of our nation.

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Those that have fallen we remember.

Those that were injured we remember.

Yet while Remembrance Sunday is a very important and special day I have but one request.

REMEMBER EVERYDAY

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Dear Olivia – 5 years too long xxx

Dear Olivia

Today marks the 5 year anniversary of your death. Anniversary sounds so wrong. Its meant to be the celebration of something. But I don’t celebrate your death, how could I when the missing of you has left my heart beating to a broken beat.

I can try to celebrate your life but even that isn’t so easy when all I want to do is scream that a life lived only for nine years isn’t enough.

Though as quote states “life is not measured by the breathes we take but the moments that take your breathe away.”

Now these are the moments I can relate to. Those one in a million moments that’s you packed into your short time here in this world. Those crazy moments that filled our hearts with such overwhelming love.

From the moment you entered this world you lived life with a purpose that I am only yet understanding. 

You came to change. You changed me, your dad, your sisters, grandparents and so many more.

Anyone who had the blessing to know you left being touched in a way we still cannot find the words to describe. 

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People have told me you were an angel and thats why we only had you for a short time. I’m not sure if an angel is the right description but you certainly was my inspiration.

I watch the videos of you and look at the photos and its as if I can almost touch you. I try to convince myself that you are just in another room and try to hide my heart from the truth that you have gone. I play the clip we have of you laughing and close my eyes. Its as if for that moment you are right there beside me. I hear your laughter, I feel your presence.

I still don’t understand why we had to lose you. If there is a bigger picture I cannot see it. I am so thankful for my faith as its the only thing that gives me hope. The promise that we will be together again.

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Your sisters are so grown up now. Kennedy is preparing for university next year. I tease her about leaving home but its going to be hard. Every since I lost you I am so scared for them. I want to wrap them up in cotton wool and keep them safe.

Do you watch over them?

They all miss you so terribly each in there own way. Brodie hurts desperately she misses her partner in crime so much. I remember how wherever we went she shared the moment with you. Pushing your wheelchair so you could see things.  Do you remember the penguins? How you loved to sit and watch them. You in your chair and Brodie by your side. Dad and I was convinced we were never going to be able to leave. You were transfixed, giggling as they splashed into the water.

I still can’t believe its been five years, my heart still feels like it was yesterday. So raw inside. 

Grief is a funny thing, I don’t understand how its supposed to work, “time is a great healer” is the worst lie I have ever heard.

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I often find myself wondering about heaven. Is that crazy? I wonder what its like there for you. I take comfort from the fact that my grandparents are there with you. I know Grandad is looking after you for sure. I remember saying to your dad when your were diagnosed how much I wish he had been here then. How he would have been your best friend, the hours he spend teaching me to read, count and write would have been there for you too. He would have learned all about Rett Syndrome and all about your therapies. I know that you are free from Rett now but I do hold the fact that he is there with you in my heart.

 

These last few years your best friends have joined you. I hate that their parents are feeling this agony but I know that between you, Ryan and Rachel there is a lot of laughter in heaven.

 

Livvy this is so wrong. I should be lying on the sofa right now holding you in my arms. You should be sending sweet looks over to your dad for his chocolate.

 

Its all so wrong but its whats happened and what we have to face. 

 

You and your sisters are my inspiration. You all are the reason I wake each morning knowing how blessed I am.

 

I miss you honey so much it physically hurts but I am trying so hard to make you proud. Trying to make a difference in the lives of others just as you did.

 

You are my inspiration, my hope!

 

Livvy five whole years has passed since that fateful morning. I still have flashbacks now.  Could I have done anything?  Why my girl?  Why my daughter?

 

I have no answers.

 

But regardless of the whys I still give thanks.

 

I am so thankful that I got to be your mom.

 

 I am so thankful for the nine years I got to love and care for you.

 

I am so thankful.

 

I miss you my beautiful girl and I will continue to miss you until we are reunited.

 5 years too long xx

My heart beats to a broken drum.

My life’s jigsaw will alway be missing a piece.

My beautiful, adorable minx how do we survive with out you?

I am trying my very best.

What I would give for one more day, one more moment.

Five  years missing you , is five years to long.

I love you my baby girl.

My sweet precious Tinkerbell.

Until forever.

I love you to the moon, stars and back again.

Mom xxxx

 

 

 

 

Back To The Moon for Good.

On Sunday we were part of a group invited to the National Space Centre for the first public showing of the new full-dome planetarium film “Back to the Moon for good”.

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I want to first start of by telling you that the National Space Centre is truly incredible place to visit. I went with all four of my children so thats two stroppy teenagers and two 12 year olds one with severe special needs and everyone of them had an amazing time.

The centre has a lot to see but it offers the information it such a way that everyone gets to interact and learn. The staff are super friendly and seem generally interested in the subject they are discussing. I honestly recommend it for a family day out. My youngest went from believing space was boring to now wanting to study the subject.

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The day was planned as a promotion for the film Back to the Moon. This is a film that was actually created at the National Space Centre by the award winning NSC Creative team. It is a 25 minute film that is narrated by the award winning actor Tim Allen and after you get over the desire to hear the words “To infinity and beyond” you realise he is is the perfect man for the job. The film shows the fascinating story of the teams competing to land a robotic spacecraft on the moon and to win the Google Lunar XPRIZE.

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The film explores both the history of lunar travel and the vision of humanity’s future on the Moon. I was surprised to find out that my children had never learned a lot about past moon exploration. One big parenting fail on my behalf.

Also something I didn’t realise until this event was that the last time someone was on the moon was before I was actually born.

The film was incredible and kept the attention of all my children including the one who never sits still for more than five minutes. It was helped of course by the setting it was shown in, the Sir Patrick Moore Planetarium is rather awesome.

To be honest my invitation to this event was the first time I had ever heard about the Google Lunar XPRIZE but after a question and answer time with Alex Hall, Senior director, Google Lunar XPRIZE and Robert Bohme from Part Time Scientists I felt I knew a little more and was extremely excited for both the moon race but also the wider implications from the technology being designed.

Robert especially had me enthralled with the Artificial Intelligence progress they had and were achieving.

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“The Google Lunar XPRIZE is a competition to challenge and inspire engineers and entrepreneurs from around the world to develop a lost cost methods of robotic space exploration. The win the Google Lunar XPRIZE a privately funded team must successfully place a robot on the Moon’s surface that explores at least 500 meters and transmits high-definition video and images back to Earth.”

“The XRIZE was founded in 1995 it is the leading the organisation solving the world’s Grand Challenges by creating and managing the large-scale, high profile, incentivized prize in five areas: Learning; Exploration;Energy & Environment; Global Development; and Life Scientists. Active prizes include the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE, the $10 million Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE, and the $2.25 million Nokia Sensing CHALLENGE, and the $2 million Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE.

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The day was something we all enjoyed, we were all well treated by the Space Centre staff and I really recommend that you all try and see the film “Back to the Moon for good” regardless of your interest in space travel it is both informative and entertaining.

I know my family and I will be following the progress of the Google Lunar XPRIZE and are excited for the year 2015 when hopefully we will see the launching of the robots into space.

I am super excited to see who the winning team will be, I do have a soft spot for the Part time scientists now after meeting Robert. Though I seriously wish we had a British team in the running.

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My day was rounded up by a statement  my youngest daughter made. She asked me to buy her a keyring with an image of the space footprint on it. When I asked her why she replied “It was to remind herself that all things are possible. That years ago many would have thought a man on the moon would be impossible so who knows what the future will bring. “ I thought this was pretty awesome

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