Wednesday, 28 October 2015

#carveaheart for World Vision

Halloween is a time that is really important to me. In Australia the 31st October would come and go. Since having Joseph it's a special time of year. We spent last year in Australia, there was no trick or treating, no costumes and no celebrations for Halloween. All the focus was on my father and celebrating our visit, which I was sure would be the last time seeing him.

This year it's different. We are having a Day of the Dead party. There are costumes and a new dress for mummy, lovely food, and plenty of decorating. But this year is extra special, because we have a new member of our family.

This beautiful little lady is Shwe Yi. She is 5 years old and lives in Myanmar. She currently attends kindergarten and gets ready for school next year. I have sponsored her and I am really excited to be her sponsor.

I sponsor her through World Vision who every year have a #carveaheart campaign. Joseph and I will be working on our pumpkin hearts and will share them with you on Saturday.

#CarveAHeart is so simple and here are 3 simple ways to get involved.

1. Instead of a scary face, carve a heart into your pumpkin and light it up, to remind us of all the children for whom every night is one of fear and uncertainty.

2. Text HEART to 70060 to donate £5 to World Vision.

3. Join the Thunderclap to tweet and/or Facebook your support for the #carveaheart campaign.

I hope you all have a peaceful and blessed Halloween, and can help to shine a little light on the lives of children everywhere.

Monday, 26 October 2015

The Never Ending Weight Loss Journey

I haven't blogged about my weight loss in ages. I am plodding away with Slimpod and still really enjoying the process. I can see lots of changes in my body, I am exercising consistently every day, and eating well. The scales aren't exactly reflecting my success so I am leaving them alone for a while.

Today I saw a dress in the window of my beloved Thunderegg. It looked completely gorgeous on the mannequin in the window and was quite sure it would look hideous on me. However down the stairs I went to find it.

I was slightly heartened when I saw it was Hell Bunny as these dresses work well on those of us with ample bosom and bottom.

I chatted to the manager and tried it on. She gasped "you will have to buy it you know" with a grin. I went away and thought about it, then bought it. It's just perfect for my Day of the Dead party at the weekend, but will be good for other occasions too.

I can see massive changes now from the beginning of the year, my legs are much slimmer and a nicer shape, my arms more toned, my waist much more defined and my bottom firmer. Some girls have to pay money for shapewear to get their dresses to stick out like that at the back!

I am just so excited to be so much more slimmer than I was in January, and by next Halloween I will be slimmer again and so on. I know I can do it, it's just a matter of making sure I keep up with these lifestyle changes.

And today I went to see a gym! I can't believe it, but just a few steps from my office is a small but perfectly formed gym with a pool for a decent price of £50 for 3 months! I'll be able to swim at lunch time or before work, and keep up with my steps on rainy days, and then dump my membership in summer when I can go on my long walks again after work!

No longer do I feel disheartened about my weight loss, it will take time to achieve my goals, but that's fine, as long as I continue to progress that is what matters, not how long it takes. 

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Dear Daddy

Dear Daddy

I was doing some tidying up this week and I found the card you sent soon after Joseph was born. It was white with a steam train on it. You included the scrap from The Mercury with Joseph's birth announcement on it. It was strange to see your beautiful handwriting again. How I miss you little letters you used to send, with your almost copperplate writing. So sad that evil AMD took your sight. Of all the things for an artist to lose.....

Since I left Australia 13 years ago not a day has gone by that I don't think of you, and since you passed away I think of you more and more. So many of my memories are ones we have managed to make since Joseph was born.

That second trip when mum was still undergoing cancer treatment, but you were relatively well is strong in my mind. My favourite memories are you watching In the Night Garden with Joseph, both of you transfixed. And taking Joseph out for meals when he called all food "cake".  And you telling him off for riding his suitcase around the apartment in Melbourne, even though the Trunki designers had designated it for that purpose.

The last trip, just a year ago, was the hardest one I've ever had to do, knowing it would be, more than likely, the last goodbye. Knowing that Joseph would instantly see how poorly you were. He did a soft giggle when he saw you "he looks like a very old premature baby" and it was true. An ill fitting head to keep you warm, and your oxygen tube. I took Joseph to the lovely craft shop opposite the home and he insisted we buy you a "mucky" a crocheted blanket to comfort you and keep you warm.

We made precious memories, taking you for your first walk in your nursing home, showing you the fish, that you could still just make out, and the beautiful sitting room with it's views of the Derwent. I left you baby sitting Joseph under the careful eye of the staff whilst I went out to get things for you.

My gentle caring dad until the end. Grieving for you is so weird, as you weren't part of my every day life, but very much still were right until the end. Knowing I could ring you anytime, especially in the middle of the night, it's hard when I wake anxious or lonely and know that are not there. Seeing my brother Chris was weird the other week. He leapt out of the lift at the wrong floor and did a little yelp exactly the way you used to do. Was strange seeing flashes of you through him.

Joseph talks about you often. He tells me to close my eyes and imagine you are still here, that you haven't gone, that we can pretend you never died.

But you have and it's sad, and I miss you. And 89 is a good age they say, but I don't think you are ever ready to lose a parent. I will miss you until the day I die.


Saturday, 24 October 2015

An Open Letter to my Six Year Old

Inspired by my horror to this 

Dear Mr 6

This week you wanted to attend your Monster Ball at school dressed as a were wolf. "It's a great costume but you might find it a bit scratchy, there are some other choices over here". No. You were resolute and headstrong and insisted on the were wolf costume. The moment we got to the ball you dispensed with most of it.

You responded to me in the style with which I have become accustomed, your intelligence shining as it always does "When will I learn to listen to my mother?" You said earnestly. I smiled gently. "It's not in your job description. Your job is to find your own path, to listen to what I say and do your own thing anyway, and my job is to roll my eyes and sigh at always being right."

My son, I carried you for 27 weeks. My pregnancy wasn't fun, it was scary. Every day I worried for you. I minded very much when the medical team said "we must deliver your baby so you do not die". I wanted your safety, your life above all. That's what mothers do. I recall laying my hands on my tummy and saying "it's ok, if it's not your time just go, don't hang on, just let go. You gave me an almighty kick. I took that as a telling off, you weren't giving in. I knew from that day on what your character would be like.

Every day I sat by a plastic box. I watched you squirm, pull tubes out, grumble at being messed with. I watched you learn to breathe, to feed. I minded this very much. You should have been inside me, safe and warm, learning all the things you needed to know to survive. It shouldn't have been so hard for you. I minded that my failure to keep you safe meant you had to struggle.

I took you home, your dad and I absolutely terrified as we realised the cat was twice your size. I watched you learn to adapt to life with just me and your dad, to the difference in being at home versus a hospital. I worried for you every day. I was scared you would leave me. I was scared I would fail you.

I held you and hugged you every day. Every day I would whisper "you can do anything". You learnt to overcome your small size and your coordination problems. You learnt to face the world with humour.

I gave you to the world, bit by bit, nursery, then school. I worried they wouldn't understand you. I worried you would struggle, and at times you did. However every day your character became more apparent. "Joseph struggles with maths and English". I smiled and said "try human biology", it worked. Now you are a wonderful reader, your maths is strong, and you demand to be taught physics and chemistry. Keeping up with you is a delightful struggle.

Being your mum has been an adventure. I have learnt so much about resilience and hope. About laughter and tears. I have learnt that I have a capacity to trust and love, live and learn that I never knew I had.

And I have learnt that being a mother is not a sacrifice. Sure my life is different now but I resent nothing, the path hasn't been easy but it's been an adventure and continues to be.

And I wouldn't have it any other way.