Tag Archives: parenting

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.

Inspire or destroy?

Last week I was lucky enough to get to listen to the inspirational Nick Barwick. Nick is a motivational speaker who came to a fostering meeting to share his experiences as a care leaver. His story is incredible, he has faced adversity, pain and suffering throughout his life but still found the strength and courage to achieve his dreams, he defied the odds and he overcame.

Nick is passionate about sharing his story, he wants the success stories of life to be shared. We need our children to have hope, that if they are struggling and finding life a struggle they can remember that where they are right now is not where they need to end. This is doubly important for all children within the looked after system, they especially need the reminder that there is Hope in this world.

I took an awful lot away with me after listening to Nick speak, but what has been twirling around in my head since I left the meeting was the impact of ‘words.’

Let me explain a little, as Nick was sharing his story he spoke about being told by some professional in his life that he would not achieve, academically, financially and emotionally, and how these words for a long time became a self fulfilling prophecy for him.

How the words spoken to him became the words he spoke to himself.

Words have power!

They can inspire but also they can destroy.

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Hearing Nick’s story just hit home how important our words are,

How as Mother’s, as fathers, as teachers, carers, our words have an impact on hearts.

How as a friend, a wife, a sister I need to use my words wisely.

How often have we let words spoken to us bury deep in our hearts?

How what may have been a passing comment has be able to consume our minds.

Someone else’s opinion become our truth.

I know I can look back in my life and raise my hand numerous times for when words spoken in hate became my reality.

“You won’t pass it.”

“I wouldn’t even bother’

“You are not good enough”

“Who would love you?”

How I let these lines of letters sink deep into my heart like an anchor dropped into the ocean, dropping slowing until they find a place to settle and hold, hold on tight.

How I  have allowed hurtful words to crawl under my skin until I believed them completely, burying under my skin into my blood to pump through my veins, straight to my heart.

Burrowing deep until I owed them as my truth.

Thankfully like Nick I had someone in my life who challenged me to question these words. To remind me that my future was mine to create.

That it was up to me to write my own story. 

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I’m still a work in progress, my story has many chapters left to write.

I’m still learning to throw away the words that hurt, to erase the words that are wrong and untrue.

To protect myself from words that do not inspire or encourage.

I’m creating my own vocabulary and as I do this I hope to create another for my children.

I want their story to be one of adventure, excitement and hope but what I want most of all is that the biggest chapter that they write will always be one filled with love.

I pray that story is one of knowing, knowing how loved they are. 

Handmade in my heart.

It’s amazing how having a baby changes your life, in all areas, in everything.

The last few months have been a shock to the system. I miss my sleep. I miss eating my dinner in one go and I really miss drinking my tea hot.

Yet all these changes are so worth it when the little one looks up at me and smiles.

How is it possible to feel so much love in such a short time?

I am smitten.

My heart was in need of baby snuggles.

My arms in need of baby cuddles.

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Our house has been turned upside down and it’s amazing. My girls are the most incredible big sisters I could ask for, from changing bums to just giving my arms a break they have been so wonderful.

Open arms, open hearts.

I cannot believe how something so tiny can make such big changes.

Even today I found myself buying some new clothes not only wondering about style and fit but also if they are baby proof or will hide baby dribble well.

I also cannot believe how vast the world of baby stuff has become, from food to clothes to equipment the baby market has gone wild and I am loving it. There is so many things that I just want to get him, my husband is already fed up of hearing the words of “he would look so cute” or “he so needs this”.

Yet still I love things that are handmade, items created just for your little one. They just seem that little more special and nothing is more special than this beautiful star blanket crafted by the wonderful Naomi at Mama Naii’s.

 

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I actually saw a photo of one she had made previously and just fell in love and knew little man needed one. So after chatting about colours and size we soon became the proud owner of this wonderful blanket and this adorable Gerald giraffe. I wish I could show how much he loves it. Watching him hold on tight to the giraffe is so cute and seeing him cuddled up tight in his blanket is priceless.

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Naomi crafts some truly beautiful things and is always willing to chat about what exactly it is you want. I already have my second order in and I’m planning my third too.

So if you are like me and feeling blessed to have a little one in your life maybe take a visit to Mama’s Naii’s Facebook page, or Instagram page and have a look for yourself. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Countdown to 40

40

 

I realised last night that in under a month I turn 40. This is a major milestone in my life but one I am so excited for.

Growing up I remember thinking 40 was really old, I mean it seemed that my mom was 32 forever so I was sure I would stay this way. Yet time has moved on and I have been slowly creeping towards this age.

I remember when I turned 30 I was really freaked by it all, I didn’t feel ready to be 30 years old I was uncomfortable and not happy in my own skin. Life wasn’t easy and I had just started to show signs of the illness that changed my life. I look back to those days when I was chasing after 4 children under 10 and teaching dance. I remember just not feeling complete as if I wasn’t living life to the full.

Fast forward the last ten years and my goodness a crazy amount has happened. I have walked through some of the darkest moments of my life. My heart has been broken, tore up into millions of pieces and then trodden on. I never imagined at 30 that I would have to bury a child let alone two. I would have never been able to comprehend surviving the loss of my daughter and my foster son. Never in a million years. Yet somehow I have survived, my heart may never be complete but it is learning to love on, learning to beat strongly again and I am learning to live life to the full again.

I know deep down that 40 isn’t really a special age. I mean I preach often about celebrating every day we have here, but still I am rather excited for the day.

This may sound big headed but I like who I see in the mirror now. I may not be a dance teacher or able to fit my bum into a size 12 but I truly love my body and I’m so grateful to it. It has given me four amazing girls, completely different, independent ,inspirational girls. It allows me to foster two truly awesome boys, each a blessing in their own special way. My body may be a little battle worn but it’s not been beaten and I am so thankful for this.

I look back to the person I was 10 years ago and I know I have been on a journey. I use the term “self discovery” loosely  as is the only way to get close to describing  the transformation I feel I have faced.

I love who I am (yes I may have said that before) but I seriously do. I love my emotional side, no more will I apologise for my random tears or unexpected hugs. I’m empathic and I care and this is something I am proud of now. No more calling myself soppy and pathetic, I actually rock.

I love my courage, I am more willing to put myself out into the danger zone, being vulnerable, feeling scared but still moving forward.

I love my brain, it’s ok that I am a little geeky at times, that sometimes the idea of a good book wins against a movie or a night out. That I appreciate my own company and yes at times I get lost in my own mind.

I love myself and I love my life.

As I head towards this birthday milestone I do so with so much gratitude.

Over the last years I have had people walk into my life that have blessed me in so many ways. Friends that love me for me, deep true friendships that can pick up after a time apart just where we left off. Friends I can laugh with, friends I have cried on. I am so grateful for each and every one of them.

I am so thankful for my family, my daughters and my sons each so unique and so beautiful. Getting to watch them grow and learn and experience life is such a wonder, such a gift. My Dad, my Step Mom, my inlaws, my aunts, uncles, cousins, relantionships that I truly value and people I truly love.

My husband, I am completely in love with this crazy man, after nearly 20 years of marriage I still get that flutter in my heart when he walks into a room. He makes me laugh, he drives me insane, but he truly is my soul mate.

I am so thankful that I miss my Livvy, because missing someone is the recognition of an amazing love, a truly unbroken bond. My girl and I will be together again one day, but until then I am going to try and live as she did, fully and with all my heart.

So the count down to 40 begins and I’m so excited. I’m so ready to celebrate the 40 years I have been here with all my family and friends. An evening full of laughter, music and hopefully a gorgeous outfit.

Yet 40 is only the really the beginning, the start of a new stage in life, one I hope will be full of love and laughter and the people that really make my life truly amazing, my family and friends, because with them and because of them I actually love myself more at 40 then I ever did.

 

40 looking good

The one he needs 

I can’t believe it’s 4:30am and I’m wide awake. Our new little man is teething and nothing besides being pushed in his pushchair seems to be helping. I’m actually not sure whether it’s the movement or the constant reassurance that I’m there that is bringing him comfort. 

To be fair whichever it is as long as he is happy then so am I. 

Yet as I sit here at this crazy hour with nothing else to do but rock the pushchair my mind is off doing that crazy thing again known as thinking.

I’m pondering on how much better we all feel when we know we have someone there for us.

From the moment we are born we are dependent on others. We need our parents to feed us, care for us and keep us safe. As we grow older we find ourselves more independant but can we really ever reach a point in life when we don’t need others?

Now I guess we could talk about hermits and the solitude they prefer but besides the extreme cases I truly believe we all need at least one other person in our lives. 

I know I couldn’t imagine my life with out some of the crazy people that bless it. My family, my friends and even the wider circle including the amazing lady who does my ironing. 

Everyone of these people play a part in my life, in my survival.

So right now as I’m exhausted and just praying this little one would sleep I’m feeling grateful. 

  

Thankful that here in this moment I get to be the person he needs. 

Sending the kids to the circus 

Ok I’m fuming right now, last night on my Facebook page I shared this 
  
Photo Credit : Sue Fitzmaurice 

About 30 minutes after I posted I received an email telling me I should be ashamed. It seems that after losing a child I should never wish any harm to my others. I should know how special they are.

Now as you can see from the picture I didn’t wish any harm to my kids and maybe they may have enjoyed the circus.

But really !!!

I love my children with all my heart but I’m being totally honest when I say at times they completely drive me mad. 

As for saying I should know better, what the f*ck.

Livvy didn’t die because I threatened to send her off to the circus. She died because of a shitty neurological disorder named Rett Syndrome. 

As for my other three girls I am parenting them the way I feel best. At times like most moms I feel like I’ve messed up. I shout, scream and often lose my patience. 

Losing Livvy didn’t turn me into the perfect parent.

In fact what it did teach me was that I had to treat my girls like normal. I couldn’t wrap them In cotton wool and be scared of anything happening to them. It wasn’t easy the loss of a child does make you over protective and frightened of everything. But raising them in a bubble wouldn’t be fair to them. 

They have a life to live to the full. The whole world to explore, people to meet, memories to make.

And right now if that means a trip with the circus, so be it. 😜

Open door 

I was watching The Fosters last night and I found myself smiling. 

I just love the diversity of this programme. The featured family love for love’s sake. 

  

They open their home to children of every ethnicity , gender and sexual orientation

Whilst I know that they are a fictional family they are my inspiration.

As a Foster carer and as a mother I know my doors are open to all. 

I will love upon children and thats it. 

I don’t care about anything else besides the fact that they need someone to care for them.

I want my home to celebrate diversity.

There is no right way to love, love is universal and can be felt by all.

I so wish the whole world was like this family. 

I know its slowly changing but I don’t want to hear of a wedding of the same gender described as a gay wedding, I want it to be seen as a wedding. The coming together of two people who wish to share their lives together. We don’t need to label what should be accepted and seen as normal. You don’t hear of a heterosexual wedding described as such.

I’m not sure if any of this is making sense. 

I guess I’m trying to explain that I never want to assume that my daughters will date a guy or that my son a girl. 

I just want them to fall in love.

  

To have someone to respect and honour them.

To know happiness and true togetherness.

The Fosters to me is just the home I want to offer my kids and any that join us. 

A place where love is given simply as love should be, freely and wholeheartedly.

So dear children of mine, 

Those I birthed and those that grew within my heart and those I have yet to meet.

 I only have a few house rules. 

  

We love unconditionally ,

We respect and we cherish. 

We celebrate each other and we never tear one another apart. 

This world is a crazy place at times, it is full of the best people and a few of the worst. 

Lets celebrate our strengths and encourage each other in our weakness.

Lets make memories and reach for those dreams.

Wherever you go in life and whatever you do, always remember you have a home with us. 

In honour of Livvy

Saturday was an amazing day, we held a Livvy’s Smile Donkey Tea Party.

The sun shone for us, the donkeys behaved and memories were made.

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I had a truly wonderful time.

I got to catch up with old friends and make some new.

I got to listen to laughter as it filled the air.

I got to watch children cover themselves with chocolate and cream as they ate their cakes.

Donkey rides, cart rides and so much more.

Seriously it was awesome.

Yet as I sat at home editing the photos from the day my tears began to fall.

My heart just ached for the missing piece of my puzzle.

Whilst I was blessed with some amazing hugs from some truly incredible children my heart yearned for my little Tinkerbell.

Birmingham Donkey Sanctuary holds a special place in my heart.

Each corner is filled with the echo of my Olivia.

Those first steps she took defying the Drs.

The giggles as she rode her favourite donkey.

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The dirty looks she gave Amber when told to sit up straight.

So many moments, so many memories.

 

I was asked why we started Livvy’s Smile and why I hold events that bring me pain?

It is simple really we started Livvy’s Smile because we are so grateful.

So thankful for the wonderful memories we have stored from Livvy.

Memories that truly get us through the darkness and we just want to give that light to other families.

On Saturday we created those special memories full of chocolate eclairs and cool moms.

Memories that will give us hope through the hard times.

Why do I it when it causes me pain? 

Because I can and because I have to.

I was blessed to be Livvy’s mom, to get to call this amazing girlie my daughter.

Livvy changed my life. 

The realisation that we didn’t have forever taught me to live in the here and now.

To live a life full of laughter and love.

 

So yes hosting these events will always be bittersweet.

I’m sure I will always return home and cry for the missing piece of my heart.

But I will never stop working hard to create memories because each moment, each memory is in honour of my beautiful daughter.

Every smile I see brings her closer.

 

Yes, I know my heart will always ache,

Grief is relentless.

Like a snake it slowly twists around your heart until you cannot breathe.

Your body craves for one more breathe, one more moment.

So as the tears fall I know they do so in honour.

Each teardrop is formed in everlasting love.

Livvy is part of who I am and who I always will be.

Livvy’s Smile is testimony to eternal love. 

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#Nationalbestfriendday

Well, yes I’m a day late but hey ho yesterday was National best friend day, and I just want to say a massive thank you to those crazy people I get to call my friends.

Friendship is something I haven’t always found easy, I didn’t really have the best school years. Yet over the last 20 years my life has been blessed by some amazing people.

Friendship has formed on school playgrounds, hospital wards,camping fields, via the plus size community and here on the internet.

I have friends I get to see often and friends I have yet to physically hug but each and everyone has blessed my life.

Friendships are beautiful things and I know I wouldn’t have survived the last 6 years especially without some incredible people who have held me tight and lifted me up.

My Grandad once told me that  “Strangers are friends you have to meet” and this philosophy has stood me well over time and I hope it continues to do so.

So here’s to the strangers I now get to call friends and those I have yet to meet.

I love you all xxx

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Lets play on National Children’s Day

Play, that thing we assume all children do.

But do we realise how important it is to our children’s development?

  • Play increases self-esteem and self respect.
  • Improves physical and mental health.
  • Extends their social skills, teaches turn taking and patience.
  • Encourages imagination and creativity
  • Offers opportunities and for children of abilities and cultures to play together.

 

Today is National Children’s Day

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Let’s celebrate our children and make today one of play.