Happy 35th Birthday Dear ZOO..

Walking back  again through the toddler years with my new little one has filled me with so many déjà vu moments.

Holding my little man in my arms I am transported back 15 years to when my girls were little enough see on my lap.

So many things have changed, yet still many are the same.

One thing that i’m really loving is the opportunity to read again some of my favourite children’s books. Books that my girls left behind as they grew older.

One extra special blessing is that now my big girls are enjoying rereading their favourites to their little brother.

 

One of those old favourites being enjoyed is the Rod Campbell lift the flap book Dear Zoo.

 

Can you believe that this wonderful book was first published in 1982, that makes it 35 years old, WOW.

To celebrate this special birthday Macmillan Children’s books have released this special edition with a beautiful shiny gold jacket and specially designed gift slipcase. The celebrations don’t just stop here though, Macmillan Children’s books have an exciting year planned to celebrate 35 years of Dear Zoo, including a live on stage version, an Easter treat at ZSL London Zoo. Find out more at http://www.dearzooandfriends.com

I am surprised at how long this book has been out but not by its success, my girls loved lifting the flaps and arguing over what they considered to be the best pet. My son gets rather cross when we send the lion back I think he would prefer to hold on to the lion, my eldest always wanted to keep the giraffe.

Happy Birthday Dear Zoo, thank you for 35 years of story time and here’s to many more years of enjoyment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • I was gifted a copy of this book for this post, but my love for it is completely genuine and truthful.

#Earlymomentsmatter

Completing my degree in Therapeutic Childcare last really drove home the importance of a child early years. The impact early negative experiences could have on the whole of a child’s life. The need for awareness and support in this area is high and so much more needs to be done to protect our children. This is why I am truly happy today with share with you the UNICEF campaign #Earlymomentsmatter.


During the earliest years of life, brain cells can make up to 1,000 new connections every second – a once-in-a-lifetime speed. These connections contribute to children’s brain function and learning, and lay the foundation for their future health and happiness. A lack of nurturing care – which includes adequate nutrition, stimulation, love and protection from stress and violence – can impede the development of these critical connections. 

According to a recent series in The Lancet nearly 250 million children in developing countries are at risk of poor development due to stunting and poverty. But the need for greater investment and action in early childhood development is not limited to low-income countries. Disadvantaged children living in middle- and high-income countries are also at risk. UNICEF estimates that millions more children are spending their formative years growing up in unstimulating and unsafe environments, putting their cognitive, social and emotional development at risk.

 

Investment in early childhood is one of the most cost effective ways of increasing the ability of all children to reach their full potential – increasing their ability to learn in school and, later, their earning capacity as adults. This is especially significant for children growing up in poverty. One 20-year study showed that disadvantaged children who participated in quality early childhood development programmes as toddlers went on to earn up to 25 per cent more as adults than their peers who did not receive the same support.

Early childhood development interventions, such as the Care for Child Development package that includes training community health workers to teach families about the importance of playing with their children in a way that stimulates healthy development can cost as little as 50 cents (USD) per capita per year, when combined with existing health services.

 

UNICEF is calling for governments to increase investments in early childhood, expand health and social services offered to young children, and strengthen support services for parents and caregivers.

My job as foster carer has brought me into contact with children whose early lives have left them for the want of a better word damaged. There whole personalities have been formed in environments of fear of neglect. They brains were hard wired in worlds that weren’t safe. It’s heartbreaking to watch a child who doesn’t know peace.

Here is the UK today is Valentine’s Day, let’s share the love and share this campaign. Let’s celebrate the love of our children and the worlds children and let’s support UNICEF in their campaign to protect our children.


1000 connections in the first 1000 days let’s make them positive ones.


#earlymomentsmatter

For a reason

It is said that people come into your life for reason. Some are to be lifetime friends, others for a fleeting moment but each and everyone of them have a purpose in your life. 

Never have I been as sure about this than over this last week. Walking through one of my life’s hardest times. I have been completely blessed by the people I have met on this journey. 

From a mom whose hand I held as we prayed to keep our boys off ventilation. Who cried in my arms when her son returned back from intensive care.

A family whose mother I want to adopt me, who kept me sane when my heart was in chaos. Who may not really know how I much appreciated the late night chats when the stillness was causing my anxiety to rise. 

The dear friends who have messaged me throughout and those who knew to give me space, you have all given me strength this week.

We still have a journey in front of us, but I am forever grateful for those that have walked with me for a moment and those that are always by my side. 

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Not the second post I wanted to write

I didn’t want my second post to be a sad one. I wanted to fill this blog with fun and laughter and happiness.

Yet you know what life isn’t like that. It’s a journey of wondrous moments and also one of truly hard ones.

I’m walking through a hard moment right now, our beautiful little man is back in hospital and really unwell. I wish I could promise things will be ok but right now I can’t. My heart is aching ,my soul is burning in fear.

Since the end of December he has been in and out of hospital fighting a truly awful chest infection and this time it’s back with a vengeance. We are hearing words I never wanted to hear and being asked questions I never wanted to answer.

What I do know is that right now he is a place full of dedicated doctors and nurses doing all they can to get him well. He is a fighter, a boy that already has defied the odds so many times before and I have to hold on to this and know deep in my heart that he will again.

So whilst this post may be a sad one let it also be one of a promise.

A promise of defying the odds and proving again the sheer strength of the human spirit and the power of love.

Hello from over here

Hello and welcome to my new virtual home.

Why have I moved you may be all asking?

Well here’s why?

When I started Walking in Angels it was my move to my first self hosted blog but more importantly it was a move in a time of pain, a time of grief. The name itself was bore out of the reminder that I would be walking through life with my daughter not here beside me. I had to tangibly hold on to the promise that although she wasn’t physically with me her spirit walked along side me. The name was also a wonderful reminder of the people that walk with you in your lifetime some for the duration others just for moments but each one having their own value, giving their own unique gift to your life. I needed this reminder to keep my heart open, to be brave and to allow myself to love again.

Eight years on I’m still on a journey that is full of grief and pain hey I will always miss my beautiful girlie but I’m also on a journey full of life and laughter.

So now it’s time to step forward and to find my place in this world of living. To always carry my daughter in my heart but also celebrate the gift of life itself. It’s also perfect timing as the official adoption of my new son comes close that I give him a place to call home, where I can celebrate all that he is, all that he loves and and the life he lives.

Chaos and conversation?

Well let’s be honest my life is a beautiful tapestry of chaos. I have four incredible daughters that bless my life each day, one turns 21 this year, the second 20 and my baby is 16 and whilst they are now well on the way to foraging their own Independant lives they still are my beautiful girlies and will forever be. They have some exciting times coming their way, celebrations, graduations, adventures and so much more. I will of course be dutifully sharing what they will allow me here in my new home. I am still so lucky that I get to love on my handsome foster son, he too celebrates a big birthday this year. Fostering is far from easy but it is hands down the most rewarding thing I have ever done. Well that and adopting my little one of course. I cannot believe it has been over a year since little man joined our family and I’m happily counting down the days until his official gotcha day.

All this, all this beautiful human beings I get to call my children certainly keep me busy. Add to this my new found love of politics, my continued desire of advocacy life is certainly chaotic.

Conversation?

This is easy to explain, I love nothing more than to share my heart and soul here in my virtual home. I love to chat about what’s happening in the world, what we could be doing and at times my pure frustration at life. I love the friendships that have extended from the comments into real life, the laughter, the tears the conversation.

So here I am saying welcome to all that have followed me from Walking in angels. I thank you all for your continued readership , your support and your friendship. To my new readers I say hello, pull up a chair and prepare for a wild ride. My life may be a little chaotic but it’s also full of a lot of love and laughter.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

D- Day

A reminder popped up in my phone today was 13 years since my dear Nan passed. How I miss this woman, she was such a character, always up to something. She was such a big part of my childhood from holidays we spend together filled with nights in the Sun centre in Rhyl to the nights at the local pub. My Nan was a madam, she would tell you as it was, how many times she told me I  should be nice to my husband because I was lucky to get someone to have me. Now this could have been hurtful but with my nan you knew it was meant with love. My girls loved their great nan and she loved them even if she refused to call Eden by her given name, “evil edna”  she said due to my child’s fiery temper, I guess at times that name certainly fitted. I miss my visits with my Nan even though after ten minutes she would be asking me when I was leaving or “do you have somewhere else to be”. She had her ways and her charms and I loved the very bones of her.

 

I cant actually believe its been 13 years now, I remember the day as vivid as if it was yesterday. It was a hard day, Livvy was suffering with her seizures and reflux, I was so tired and my husband had just started a new job that was leaving him exhausted and grumpy. I had dropped the girls to school and was home alone when the postman dropped four letters through the door. Isn’t it strange that I can remember it was four, one from the bank, another the council the third was junk mail and the fourth was from the children’s hospital. It was now a month since the neurologist had told us that Livvy had Rett syndrome and I was slowly trying to get my head around the diagnosis, trying to understand what this meant to us as a family, what it meant to Livvy. I wasn’t in the right place then, I wasn’t in a good place. I was still so angry, so lost, so when I opened that letter my heart just broke, there in black and white was the official diagnosis the genetic test was back and the results showed without any doubt that Livvy had the mutation on the MECP2 gene and she had Rett Syndrome.

I couldn’t hide anymore, I couldn’t cling on to the last ray of hope, it was gone, it was true. I had the answers to the questions of her deterioration, her seizures, her movements but it was the answer I really didn’t want.

Rett Syndrome

Dear Mrs Meredith 

After seeing Olivia in clinic we send her bloods off for testing for the genetic mutation of Rett Syndrome, we have now had the results which confirm my clinical diagnosis. Olivia has Rett Syndrome.

We will arrange for a follow up appointment in the next few weeks but any questions you have please contact me on the above number. 

Many thanks 

 

Many thanks ???

No thanks, no thank you, not today, not this syndrome, not my Livvy.

I think i just sat on the stairs and cried, my heart breaking there and then. This wasn’t fixable, there was no cure and at this time there was barely any information and most of it out there was so sad, so scary.

She didn’t deserve this.

Why my Livvy?

Yes I remember this day so well, I remember Alan getting home early just to hold me tight, to hold each other. I think Alan had moved further forward with his acceptance since the clinical diagnosis but I needed evidence, i needed proof.

Well I had it now didn’t I !

I wish I could tell you that there and then I made peace with the diagnosis that I accepted Rett Syndrome into my life. I didn’t i just cried and cried.

Then the call came, my Nan had passed away, my beautiful nan’s heart had finally given up. I think that right then and there I would have happily joined her, I was so lost. How do I move forward knowing that there was a good change i would outlive my own child? How do you move forward with this knowledge?

All I know is that I didn’t want to be brave, I didn’t want to find peace, I was angry, I was hurting I was lost.

13 years ago, 

My fears that day was realised I did lose my beautiful daughter to Rett Syndrome, I do have to live with the knowledge that I outlived my child, yet I know now how very blessed I am. I got to be Livvy’s mom, I got to walk through Rett syndrome with her and yes whilst it may have won the final battle for Livvy, I am not giving up on others. The beautiful girls and boys that are fighting this everyday, the heartbroken parents hearing this diagnosis today, tomorrow. I will continue to fight for this awful devastating disease to be no more.

I may have been lost 13 years ago, I may still grief desperately for my Olivia and my wonderful nan but I do take comfort today in thinking about the chaos they are causing right now in heaven. I’m quiet sure my nan would test even Jesus’s patience. I’m a hundred percentage sure that Livvy is causing mischief.

13 years feels like an eternity at times but right now this day feels a heartbeat a way and whilst I am allowing myself to reminisce I am moving forward with determination and hope. One day that letter will not fall through the door of unprepared parents and even if it does it will not come with the fear and dread that filled my heart, it will be filled with hope of treatment and a cure. One day this will happen.

 

We are awake …

I didn’t attend the Women’s March on Saturday, not because I didn’t want to, I so did. My heart, my soul walked step by step with all those standing up to be counted. I didn’t march because it’s been a hard few weeks and although we are out of hospital we are still recovering. 

I followed social media with such pride, so proud of everyone that stood up and said no. 


NO to discrimination 

NO to racism 

NO to Misogyny

NO to homophobia 

As a mom of four amazing young woman I want them to grow up in a world that does not see their gender as second class. A world where they are offered the same opportunities as their male counterparts. A world where they are safe from sexual predators a world where harassment isn’t ok.


I want all my children to know it’s ok to fall in love with anyone of any gender, colour, faith. That the only barrier should be their own hearts. Where love is celebrated as two individuals without the stereotypical guidelines attached. 


I want them to live in a world where colour has no impact on people’s perceptions let people be judged on their hearts not their ethic backgrounds. There is no superior race just superior hearts.

I want them to live in a world where the only person to have control of their bodies is themselves.


I want them to live in a world where people with disabilities arent viewed and treated as second class citizens where support and help is giving freely for all to live fufiled lives. 

Equality, freedom these should be the right of all not a few. 

I’m sorry I didn’t get to be part of Saturdays women’s march but I also know that this was beginning and there is so much more left to be done. 

 We have been woken, we are awake. 

Perfect print

We have been running Livvy’s Smile for the last 8 years now, it certainly keeps us busy planning events, fundraising and generally getting awareness out there. This year is going to be especially busy with the planning and holding of  Livvy’s Ball.

With so many charities about now its really important that we get our name out there, locally and further a field, we do this in many ways, social media campaigns, blog posts, news articles and leaflets. We want to share what we do with as many people as possible. Obviously we need support in fundraising but we also want to make sure get our events shared with families that will benefit and enjoy our memory making days.

Over the years we have invested heavily in promotion material some which have been fantastic some which have been extremely disappointing. So when offered the chance to review a printing company I was certainly happy to give them a go and I am happy to say I am so glad I did.

Working with Aura Print has been so fantastic the whole process has been painless from design to print to delivery they have offered first class service. We were asked what style, size and supported with the design. To be honest we had our base design but if we didn’t the company were willing to walk us through the design process step by step.

The quality of the print, paper and overall presentation of the leaflets is wonderful. The colours are sharp, precise and the text has clarity. I am really impressed.

I actually cannot wait to get these leaflets out into circulation.

So if you are looking for some A5 flyer printing I highly recommend Aura Print. 

 

Born in my heart 

So it’s seems my little man loves the hospital so much he had to return for another visit. This time of course he had to up the drama level a little or a lot as the case may be.

I’m exhausted both physically and mentally, my body aches and is craving sleep and my mind well maybe we better not go there. 

The thing is I know the life I have chosen to live could get scary, that adopting a child with such complex needs could take me back to a place of such anguish, fear and pain, I do understand this. 

Yet as I sit here in the hospital room after a few days of real fear all I am feeling is thankfulness. I’m so very grateful and honoured that I get to be by this little ones side when he struggled. So blessed that when he needed me I got to be there.  

I know some people do not understand my life’s choices, they see the risk, the pain and understandably they could never imagine putting themselves through it and I completely get that. I can honestly tell you that this week I was petrified. Yet even now as I still reel I know how lucky I am and I don’t doubt or regret my decision to adopt this little one. I am counting down the days till he is officially mine, my son, my heart, my world. 

Life is certainly going to be an adventure and whilst my life may be extremely different to others I am so very content, so very happy. 

And whilst I understand why people ask me “how can I ” my answer will always be “how couldn’t I”.

This boy may not have been born from my body but he certainly was born in my heart.

My word for 2017

So I’ve started my New Year in the hospital. Little man is not 100% but is improving unless to count the after effects of antibiotics and numerous nappies, the joys of being a parent. 

I cannot actually believe we are heading into a fresh new year last year seems to have flown by. It’s definitely going to be a busy year, the adoption completion, two 16th birthdays a 21st and a daughter leaving behind her teenage years. It’s also the year Livvy should have turned 18th, I nearly decided to just wallow in my grief of this but I reminded myself of what she would have wanted. So I’m hosting a ball, a wonderful special night of music, laughter and friends old and new. We will be fundraising for Livvy’s Smile and Reverse Rett both in her honour. I’m hoping it will be an evening she will be proud of. It’s going to be on her actual 18th birthday how special is this. If you would like to come along and support the event please do, tickets are on sale now. 

So yes 2017 is going to be a busy year and like previous years before I want to take a word with me to stand by me throughout the next 365. I’ve struggled this year to be honest choosing one, strength and determination came close but my chosen word for 2017 is Challenge.

I want to challenge my family to live a more fun adventurous life, getting out there and making more fun memories.

I want to challenge my health and self care making sure I look after me a little more.

I want to to challenge my marriage, it’s easy after 21 years of being together to forget to make each other feel special. I want to work at this with my husband, valuing each other, loving each other. 

I want to challenge the government and fight against the devastating damage they are inflicting on communities and town around the UK. Everyone has the right to be treated with respect and dignity, families have the right to stay together and children and adults with disabilities have the right to be heard. 

I want to challenge myself to say yes even when it scares me but also to say No when I’m overloaded or just not interested. 

I want to challenge myself to accept invitations and to strengthen existing relationships but also let go of those that are unhealthy or just aren’t making me happy.

But mostly I choosing this word as I want to challenge myself to believe in me more. To value my own worth and to know that I can achieve great things. 

So come on 2017 let’s see what fun we can have.