Monday, June 12, 2017

Annus Horribilis - Starting with Fostering

I swear each year I think next year will be easier. Being a positive person I think maybe next year. Maybe one year I'll stop thinking positively. But that's not this year.

Three areas of our life has been all encompassing this year - Fostering, Joshua and Ella.

 So the next few posts aren't fun and full of happy photographs. They're about how life sometimes sucks. So if you're not in the right place, come back in about a week :)

Fostering is rewarding.
Fostering is fulfulling.
Fostering is funny.
Fostering is frustrating.
Fostering is flaming hard work.

Fostering is rewarding when a kid who has lived off nugget and chips eats a whole bowl of home cooked stew and asks for more.

Fostering is fulfilling when a fosterling develops self-help skills, moves into independent living, and you know they will cope.

Fostering is funny. Like when you find that a teen fosterling is trying to grow a cannabis plant in his bedroom. Or they honestly think they can pull one over on you.

Fostering is frustrating when a childs parent speaks offensively about your delightful special needs daughter and you have to bite your tongue and remain professional.

Fostering is flaming hard work .........
..........when a fosterling makes an allegation against you. This year we have had to defend ourselves again and again against a teenager who seems bent on making life difficult for us. I'm rude (I'm really not!). We always have an excuse why we don't buy him things. We will buy him new uniform but he will save the old uniform and wear that so that school feels we're neglecting him. This culminated in SS doing an unannounced visit to do a clothing inventory. Personally 18 tees, 12 trousers, 6 pairs of shoes, 5 coats, etc. is plenty in my book.
.......... when a teen fosterling reports to a friends parents that we've gone to a wedding all day and locked him out of the house! Of course the parents then phone SS and report it (which, actually, is fair enough, I would to if I had heard that).When actually I'd sent him to the hairdressers while I went out for a couple of hours!
.......... when a fosterling accuses you of something so unacceptable that you seriously question whether fostering is right for you. To know that something has been said, and a week later you find out that the child has been interviewed by the police; the case has been referred to the Local Authority Designated Officer; and you've been the subject of a meeting. All of these things have been going on around you and you're oblivious. Then you get an unannounced visit and it all comes out. They discuss how we could protect ourselves in the future. But we already follow the best safe care, we communicate with SS re any concerns, and I tend to write a tome in the daily diaries. They had to admit we actually couldn't have done anything to protect ourselves further. We were lucky - truth was on our side, and it has been listed as a false statement. But there is always 'what if' ...............
Thursday, June 08, 2017

The June Bride

I love musicals - Blood Brothers, (Oh my gosh, seen it 4 times, cried every time!), Joseph, Les Mis, JCS, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Little Shop of Horrors (although I don't like the theatre ending!) - well you get the picture. But my favourite by a country mile has always been Seven Brides for Seven Brothers :) And as my eldest stepson and his wife got married this month, how could I not at least give a little nod to The June Bride song - linky link to the song if you're feeling a little nostalgic.

So, yeah, Ricki and Kim got married. I didn't go. Long story short it was easier, and less stressful, for everyone if I didn't go. Did I want to? Of course I did, we've been together 27 years and I've know Ricki all that time. But sometimes (in fact the boys say I do it too often!) you need to think about others not yourself. I did though pop in for half an hour so that I could pick Ella up - the whole day would have been to long for her so Jeff just took her to the actual service. And actually, she wasn't invited so couldn't have stayed anyway - and she probably would have enjoyed the food and dancing more than the service LOL!

So here's a few photos of what Jeff says was a perfect wedding :) Shame Josh and Ben couldn't make it, but they were 5,500 miles away preparing for end of year finals.
Sunday, June 04, 2017

Go Ape!

When I am blogging about fostering and adoption I tend to talk about Ella, babies and younger children. When actually we nearly always have living with us teenagers as well. Why don't I include them more? Well, simple, they're teenagers! They eat, mix with peers, sleep, and repeat. And that's what they chose to do. But every now and then we manage to persuade them out of their pits and do something a bit more interesting. This was one of those occasions :)

We arranged to take the boys, both 14, to Go Ape. One of the boys was a bit anxious, afraid of heights, so we just said, do what you can. Because of their age they had to have a responsible adult keep them coming while being Tarzan. However I couldn't go, and Jeff had to stay on the ground to look after baby, so our lovely friend Jeanette volunteered, although we all questioned describing her as responsible ;)

They loved it - and yes, the anxious one did everything :)
Wednesday, May 31, 2017

May - what else?

Along with everything already blogged this month,we've also:
2 x visits from our SSW;
1 x visit from a fosterlings SW:
2 x hospital appointments;
1 x supporting the LA at a fostering fortnight event;
1 x Health Visitor for baby fosterling;
Orla's First Holy Communion :( no photos as not the designated person - Churches really are organised now LOL!;
1 x Temp job - so much more hassle than it was worth!
1 x interview (and then 2 more offers of interview after I had accepted the first - just like buses, nothing for ages and then 3 come along at once LOL!)
1 x dentist
And my birthday :) Which was pretty uneventful, I've started going backwards once I hit 50 ;)

Hmmm, that looks quiet - Don't forget baby's party, trip to Saville Gardens, and the 3 days of celebrating Mum's 80th!
Monday, May 22, 2017

A few more photos ......

........ cos a picture paints a thousand words. And as I'm playing catch up, that sounds like a plan :) But whereas the last were about 'things' this one is about 'peeps'.

I just love this photo. Joshua and Ella have a love/hate relationship and most of the time ignore each other. But this photo shows such a gentle side for them both. Okay, yeah I know they're asleep, but I like to think that they chose to fall asleep like that ........ I can dream can't I? :)

Ella was poorly at the very beginning of May. Jeff picked her up from school as she had refused to get on the school transport. Within minutes of him getting there she had started fitting. Kept stopping and starting. Got back to our town, I was at Mum's. He suggested we go home, but I said no, so we phoned an ambulance. They arrived fast - young person fitting for more than 15 minutes I would have been angry if they didn't! Took her to A&E and eventually at 6pm they gave her some Diazapam - after fitting for best part of 3 hours on and off. Only lasted half an hour!! But at least in that half an hour they had been able to put in an IV cannula in. So at 6.30pm they gave her some Lorazapam - and that was it, the fit completely stopped and she slept all night :)

Bought this playpen on about the second day the fosterling arrived. She was commando crawling round the room, attempting to chew every wire she could find! We quickly realised our house needs baby proofing again! I ordered this playpen as I loved the fact it umbrella folds so can take it anywhere. However, I did exactly the same I had with the firepit in the last post...... It's a monster and takes up most of the floor in the living room! But, it is great in that we can take it outside and she has different scenery, because indoors she won't leave wires and cables alone. And outside it's leaves, grass, mud, and I don't want to think about what else LOL!

Finishing with a simple set of tumblers I bought in Costco. Looks like glass but isn't! Which for this clumsy person makes for perfect 'glass' ware :)

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Just some photos!

How excited was I when I saw this Kitchen Aid half price and then a further 20% off! I have wanted one for years, but couldn't warrant the cost, they are pretty pricey. But doing a bit of research this colour may be on the way out ...... Like I care! Cream - or whatever the fancy name is ? Oatmeal? or something else that actually means cream, is the perfect colour for our kitchen, matches some of the tiles. So when we worked out it would cost just over £200, well, it would have been rude not to take advantage. Such a fluke I decided to wander in and have a look, it was the last one. Was obviously waiting for me :) ........... Now all I need is the time and ability to create wonderful creations!

This photograph makes me sad. When we were in Cornwall in March with the boys, the nearest town was Camborne. Had a nice mix of shops up one long high street, a mix of chains and independants. Found an amazing shoe shop, spent far too much money, but ended up with 1 pair of shoes, 2 pairs of shoes for Jeff and 4 for me. But in my defence my 4 pairs cost less than his 2 :) Back to the photograph. This church was halfway up the high street. Apparently it was built in 1828 and was originally a Methodist Church. It just really brought it home to me how generations are changing the make up of my country, when people would rather sit and have a commercial coffee, than sit in quiet contemplation.

And this? This is my little piece of heaven, our garden. I mentioned on the Saville Garden post that I prefer laid back nature to pruned and perfect. Well that certainly describes our garden! For the last few evenings we've been sitting out here. With the decking, grape vine and fairy lights, it feels perfect. We wanted some kind of fire pit - you know, England, not known for it's warm nights LOL! We have managed to have 2 chimineas that have been broken, so that wasn't an option. The wide fire pits wouldn't have worked as they would be too big, take up half the decking. But in Costco we saw this lovely enclosed fire pit - great for safety with Ella and the fosterlings around. Looked a perfect size. What however we didn't take into account was just how huge Costco is ;) Got it home and built - and it's a flaming monster LOL! But, don't care, looks beautiful and keeps us warm :)
Friday, May 12, 2017

Saville Garden Carnival of Colour

I have always loved walking - in the woods, up a mountain, by a river - actually anywhere as long as it is getting close to nature and not a built up, urbanised, area. Oh - unless of course we are sight-seeing, but that is totally different. Jeff though has never been that keen. But turns out, if you give him a buggy with a fosterling in it, mix it up with a health kick, he's finally into walking. Go figure! In fact, while I've been at work, his record is 8 miles! ..... I did check on his tracker ;) Peering over my shoulder Jeff has just said that sounds like I have a tracker secreted on him! .......... as if ;)

So, we decided to visit Saville Gardens. I used to always visit there and Virginia Waters when I was a child with Mum and Dad. Back then it was free, like everything else, not so much any more.

It was stunning and we wandered around for a few hours. The colours of the flowers really are so vibrant, and it's lovely to see giant - and I mean giant - rhododendron bushes right next to a field of bluebells. We were lucky as it was a beautiful day which made the stroll more enjoyable. But if I'm honest, it was too clinical for me. Give me Caesars Camp or the mountains in Italy, rugged, overgrown, nature at its best any day.