Monday, 8 July 2019

Highs And Lows

The Highs:

A birthday gift from  Dorina in NYC and a Get Well card from Eva in NY state, both arrived in the same postal delivery!  Thank you dear friends for thinking of me, your friendship is much appreciated x 

Outside knitting and eating.

Ben having fun building a wooden shoe rack for the hallway.

A Saturday morning cooked breakfast only a five minute walk from our home.

Beginning to make contacts and friendships within our church community, most especially there are three other church folk living with MS that also attend our Sunday mass!  

A new lounge carpet and bathroom flooring upstairs.

The Lows:

A perfect storm of a dodgy u-bend, a sink that was slow to empty and a knocked tap equals a flood in the upstairs bathroom!  Hence the need for new flooring as well as a complete redecoration of the lounge and dining room ceiling.  It quite literally never rains but pours!

Who knew that Pringles plain crisps also contained yeast extract?  No, me neither!!  One of the very offending substances that I have painstakingly avoided for an entire year, so no wonder I am now dealing with another horrid candida flare :-(  Thankfully the GP has prescribed a systemic treatment so things will settle eventually.

Pip has been increasingly unhappy at school.  In addition to the issues with one of the girls she is also struggling with the relentless pace of work.  She was off school last week due to a virus and a reaction to the MMR vaccine and despite being sick was relieved that she did not have to go to school.  For the last few weeks she has felt a complete failure because she is struggling to keep up.  I had a meeting with her teacher today and in order for Pip to have a hope of managing next year we would have to guarantee 100% attendance as well as Pip working at 110%; both of these goals are totally unrealistic! 

 It has been an interesting journey trying out mainstream school and it has confirmed my thoughts that schools are just number crunching machines with little regard for the well being of the children in their care. Needless to say Pip will be home schooled as from September with the longer term view of her attending Myerscough college once she is fourteen.  So with a bit of luck I should be hopefully posting our usual home school stories as and when they occur :-)

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Life Lately

Dealing - with glandular fever also known as the Epstein- Barr virus.  I had a blood test just over a week ago and the result came through on Monday.  GP will need to do another test in four weeks to ascertain which way things are going.  I have days when I hold my own and other days when I am floored and the inflammation in the glands is really bad with all out bone crushing fatigue.

We are also dealing with Pip struggling at school.  She likes her teacher and enjoys the lessons but is having difficulties with one of the girls in her class.  It got to the point last week that she broke down and sobbed for over an hour and couldn't eat her tea.  This was the same girl that was super keen that another girl was joining the year and within a matter of days she was ignoring Pip, refusing to share a map in the geography lesson and attempting to prevent Pip from playing with another kid.  I really do believe that school brings out the worst in folk. 

However we are fortunate in that the head agreed to flexi schooling as part of the transition period so Pip will be finishing at lunch time tomorrow.  Instead of taking part in the sports day she will be spending time with another home school family :-) 

I think things have been made worse as she has also been targeted by some of the girls in our local area.  They call for her then exclude her and when she stands her ground and refuses to put up with their mean spirited behaviour, they then chase her when she is trying to come home.  I have seen first hand how they are behaving as they hadn't realised I was in the garden at the time.  The whole situation has affected her confidence which is quite sad.  As is stands we are trying to make it to the end of term and will review whether or not she will return in September.

Celebrating - we celebrated Ben's 16th birthday on the 11th.  It was a fairly low key day but he enjoyed it all the same.  Ben has really grown in confidence this last year and has enjoyed his year at college.  He is also benefiting from his volunteering roles both at Wesley's and at church.  He is a real whizz on the petrol mower as he manoeuvres around the grave stones in the church cemetery!

 Opening cards and presents first thing.

 Chicken, vegetable and pesto past followed by low carb, no sugar birthday cake.

 Pouring a non alcoholic beer :-)

Thankful - for some happy mail that arrived in the post on Monday.

My friend Penelope Wilcock, author and blogger gifted me the first three books in her 'The Hawk and The Dove' series:

" The first book is written not so much as a consecutive narrative but as a series of short stories about a medieval monastery, contained within a modern setting in which a mother tells the storied to her daughter.

This structure and the somewhat naive style of the book came about not as mere whimsy but as a tribute to two particular medieval texts - Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and the Fioretti of St Francis of Assisi.

The Canterbury Tales employs the literary conceit of the frame tale, and the Fioretti gathers a sequence of short stories (not fictional) recording the early days of the Franciscan movement from which the Order began.

In writing The Hawk and The Dove, intrigued by the style and structure of these medieval texts, I constructed my novel similarly.  It also offered the balancing of the two worlds - the medieval and the modern, the monastic and the secular, the feminine and the masculine.  The second book, The Wounds of God I also crafted along the same lines.  In subsequent volumes in the series I wanted to tackle issues that did not lend themselves to this structure, so I set it aside for The Long Fall and the books that followed."

Pen's writings on her blog and her books whether they be fiction or non fiction really speak to my soul and lift my spirits time and time again.  We often have a blog conversation over on her site and she was aware that I was below par.  This gift was her way of encouraging me during the difficulties and her generosity is greatly appreciated.

I also received an intriguing package with a UK post mark and then remembered an email from my lovely friend Eva regarding a belated birthday treat.  See that cute little chicken on the right of the photo, it is keeping Our Lady of Walsingham company on our mantle piece!  Thank you Eva for thinking of me and cheering my day :-)

Sharing - some photos of this past week.

The Annual Solstice Fairy Day

The girls had fun playing the crazy golf at The Flower Bowl followed by sausage buns, fries and salad and another chocolate sugar free cake.  Pip's best buddy is a Harry Potter fan so when Pip and I saw the plushies at Aldi it was a no brainer!  It was good to see Pip smile, the first in a long time.  We have a sleep over treat organised with the girls during the summer break and they are both super excited.

A Beach Trip on A Sunday

Back in our old stomping ground, the sound of the waves, fun in the sand and the much welcomed cup of tea in The Midland Hotel.  A real tonic for us all :-)

Sunday, 2 June 2019

A Hospital Birthday

This will be the third year running that something has happened on or around my birthday!  I spent best part of my 52nd in hospital with Pip :-(  She went out with friends on Thursday and since it was a last minute invite I forgot to check the food arrangements.  Unfortunately she ate a whole heap of party food that contained wheat and dairy and other processed foods.  We tend to avoid gluten and dairy due to mine and Benedict's intolerances and so the odd time Pip has eaten such food it has only been in minute consequences.  The allergic response was most alarming and the abdominal pain so bad that an ambulance was dispatched yesterday lunchtime.

It is really hard seeing a child suffer and I really felt for her when we were waiting in the A&E corridor with other much older patients.  One of the ambulance crew commented that in an other local hospital they have a separate paediatric A&E department.  Although all the staff were incredibly caring I can definitely see the value in a separate unit.  Still we made the best of the situation and it gave me an opportunity to also quietly pray for those waiting in the queue for a cubicle. I knew that God was with us but still my anxiety and stress levels were through the roof and I was so glad once Pip was settled on a bed awaiting assessment from one of the doctor's on call.

God really stepped into the situation and we were seen by a very caring A&E doctor who was not only a Christian but very much in favour of homeschooling!  She is a mum to two small kiddies a four year old and two year old and also lives in the small town five minutes from our village :-)  When I happened to comment that it was my birthday and that I was worried about leaving Dave and Ben at home she gave me a massive hug and I told her that, she was an answer to prayer!

  After examining Pip, she diagnosed gastritis and it became all too clear that her body had reacted badly to the food.  To be safe though she ran some blood tests and Pip and I were dispatched to the canteen to grab a drink and wait for the results.  There was a method to this request as she wanted to see how Pip was without pain relief and in moving around, previously she couldn't get out of the chair as the pain was so bad.  I can tell you now that never had I enjoyed or deserved a Costa coffee as much as that Latte yesterday afternoon!  As suspected the blood tests were all normal, Praise God and both Pip and I were awarded bravery stickers!  Mine was the gold one for being super brave :-)

Our lovely friend David came to collect us and bring us home and once in the door I crashed on the bed for a good hour as I was exhausted.  So very thankful that it was nothing serious and a timely reminder for me to make sure that I pack all her own food when she attends gatherings away from home.

 Hiding behind a Nintendo games console in the coffee2go café.

A café selfie, so good to see her smiling, I was just to exhausted to raise a smile at that point!

We have first day at school tomorrow, so the bags have been packed, homework done and lunches made, nighty night x

Saturday, 25 May 2019

Life Lately

Thanks to Kezzie for the prompts once again:-)

Watching:  the world go by and wondering where on earth is my place in the grand scheme of things!  So often I feel that I am being led down a path only to find another huge stumbling block in my way, so frustrating!

Playing: catch up once again on the blog and visiting online folks.  Thanks Penelope for dropping by to check if I am OK and giving me a much needed nudge to update on here :-)

Feeling: annoyed that my body continually lets me down.  Over four weeks ago I started with swollen glands in my neck and horrendous joint/bone pain in my feet and knees.  It hasn't gone away and at my recent GP appointment I have been prescribed anti inflammatory drugs as well as strong analgesics to deal with the pain.  If the glands have not gone down by next week then I will need to go back for another physical exam and blood tests.

Reading/Just Read:  "Unexpected Healing"  by Jennifer Rees Larcombe.  I have read several of her books and she writes with warmth, insight, honesty and humour.  I borrowed the book from the lending library at Wesley's today and could not put it down and it was finished this evening.  My next book from there is "Children and Prayer" by Betty Shannon Cloyd.  I also have this month's book club book but it is not looking hopeful, with swear words on the first few pages I am beginning to wonder what else is in store!  If it doesn't improve then it will be permanently shelved :-)

Disgusted by ...  politics, most especially those of a far right persuasion.  I am not a Tory voter and at times was frequently frustrated by Teresa May's dogged determination and unwillingness to encompass other views, but even I felt very sorry for her on Friday.   Class clown Boris Johnson and wooden top Andrea Leadsom as potential PMs?  Heaven help us!  And as for Frog Man Farage total dismay :-(  

Hoping ... like Kezzie that the Green Party get more European seats and that Farage falls down a rabbit hole!!  We were able to vote how we liked in the European elections as opposed to tactically voting and so the Green Party got our vote :-)

Dealing with ... changes.  Pip has started school at a local small village school, only 40 kids in the entire building.  She has been feeling increasingly isolated and this seemed like the best option to make friends at the moment.  As a result she has already made friends with a lovely girl, who is visiting tomorrow for the afternoon. 

 Her school attendance will only be for a year and then we will return to home schooling until she is old enough to attend Myerscough College.  We do have a local secondary school on our doorstep but it has major issues with retaining staff and dealing with quite severe bullying issues.  We know of one family where the boy aged twelve was threatened with a stabbing and the school did nothing to intervene.  As a result the victim is now being home schooled.

My childminding job for AJ will also finish in July.  It makes no sense looking after another person's child when my own is out of the house and in all honesty my pay has been way below the recommended childminding rate.  Essentially I have been working for welfare in that I have had a tick box for working my required 16 hours per week.  I have decided to return to the crafting and have already made contact with out local information centre who is currently looking for new makers to exhibit in the shop.

Caring:  for Dave last week when he had an eye infection and consequent MS wobble, cue a week of high dose steroids and antibiotic ointment for the eye.

 Ben's diabetes bloods have been a bit wobbly but despite that he has managed college and his volunteering jobs.  With regards to his education we had a profitable meeting with college advisers on Friday and now have a plan for his learning over the next three years.

Sharing: photos from the last few weeks

Oliver's Baptism

 It was so lovely to see Sara wear her wedding dress for the occasion.  The event was made even more special in that the priest conducting the service was our parish priest when the girls were small!  It was lovely to catch up and know that they will be well looked after in their parish at Grange.

Freeport Shopping Centre Fleetwood

On a lovely sunny day a few weeks ago we ventured forth to " Freeport Shopping Centre" near Fleetwood which is only a half hour drive from our home.  T-shirts, sandals and flasks were bought from the discounted outdoor wear shops.  We did have a coffee treat at Costa but saved money by bringing our own lunch.

Pondering:  will I actually make it back in this space?  I hope so :-)  

God Bless x 

Saturday, 4 May 2019

May The Fourth Be With You!

Happy Star Wars Day! 

The Beano comic shared a recipe for Wookie Cookies and Pip had fun in the kitchen today:

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Happy Easter

Our Easter celebrations were very different this year as not only did we attend the Easter vigil, but we also witnessed Tom enter the church.  The evening was made all the more special because Fr Phillip Smith celebrated the mass and he was our parish priest when Em, Kath and Sara were small!

Receiving the Spirit and the confirmation name of Matthew.
The whole evening was quite special and one we will treasure for sure.

In order to prevent a late night drive we made the decision to stop with Sara, Tom and Ollie overnight.  It was lovely to spend the day with them and the kids in particular loved hanging out with their nephew :-)

Breakfast Fun

 Ollie Bear

 Grandpa reading.

 Pip and Sara two peas in pod both in looks, temperament and crazy sense of humour.  Tom looking on with steamed up glasses!

Uncle Ben feeding Ollie Bear.

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Ham Farm Coaley

We travelled to Gloucester on Sunday.  It has been a bittersweet journey since we are minus one dear family member, Uncle Mike, who passed away on the 31st January.  Sadly we were unable to make the funeral but we were present for the interment of his ashes on Monday morning.  As usual Uncle Andy came and stopped for a quick overnight visit and it was good to spend 36 hours with him.  

Our accommodation is situated on a working farm and the log cabin is fully accessible.  It is currently lambing time and the young farmer and his brother are working round the clock shifts making sure the ewes are OK.  They are expecting 250 lambs and so far 50 have been delivered.  Pip even saw one of the Ewes deliver twins!  Our accommodation is opposite the multiple births maternity wing :-)

Gloucester city centre was incredibly busy so we were unable to visit the  Regiment museum as per previous visits.   However we did  manage to visit Hubble Bubble which was appreciated by all :-)  Uncle Andy then took the kids in search of an outdoor shop whilst Dave and I popped in to Gloucester Cathedral (and we thought about the sad state of Notre Dame) and I visited nearby wool shop to buy some sock yarn to commemorate the visit.

Here are some pictures of the visit thus far:

Sunday Evening Knitting

Farmer James and Pip

Hubble Bubble and Gloucester Cathedral