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.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

1st birthday!

From an 80th to a 1st! One thing about our household is it's never boring and repetitive :) It has been a lot of years since we've had a 1st birthday party - 21 to be exact! The biggest problem we had was that we haven't got any babies in the family so although it was for a one year old the average age attended was ........ well, let's say a lot older :) We combined it with something else that was happening in relation to Ella - more about that another day - so had Ella's favourite people here.

I had to do a sweetie table - how could I not?? But it was a much simpler one than I would normally do - also included sandwiches, pizzas, etc. (I know, shock! horror!) which I would never normally put on a sweetie table! Must admit, loved being able to decorate in pink after all those blue parties :)

And if you're a new reader, the faces blocked are for the fosterlings privacy :)

Um, no, *hangs head in shame*, I didn't make that fabulous Number 1 cake, the Awesome Anna did :)

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Mum's 80th Birthday

When Mum mentioned it was her birthday it wasn't long before she started talking about what she wanted to do. Initially it was a trip to Guernsey until we worked out how expensive that would be for all of us. Then she mentioned a trip on the Orient Express, but that was a bit pricey too. I have since found a company that does half day trips on the old style trains, so thinking of surprising her at some point with a trip on one :)
So, before we know it, she's somehow managed to persuade us to have a BBQ at our house! But how you going to refuse your mum on her 80th? By our standards it was a small affair - in past years we've had up to 150 visit during the day for a BBQ. This didn't even make 50, but it was a lovely afternoon :)
Sunday, April 30, 2017

April - What else?

April swung past almost as quickly as March - and Feb - and Jan! Cannot believe we're a third of the way through this year. It really is true, the older you get, the quicker the years go.
Josh had his operation
Trip to Heathrow to say goodbye to boys :(
We had a new boiler put in, about time too, the old one was here when we moved into the house, 21 years ago! Wasn't even replaced when we had the huge extension (and did not want a repeat of last November when the immersion tank burst!)
Ella has had 2 sleeps at respite
1 visit from our SSW
I visit from N's HV
Took an old fosterling to the cinema - watched Boss Baby - too bloody funny!
Didn't take part in the A-Z, first time in 5 years. Did A but I wasn't organised - will save the topic, and the A post for next year :)
1 allegation - false of course!
2 foster carer meetings
1 Mencap meeting
5 doctors/hospital appointments
1 visit to A&E
13 lots of taking and collecting from contact
Jeff went to 2 car meets
Meeting with an organisation to try and sort extra respite for Ella
Still have 3 fosterlings and Ella (of course!)

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Treatz in Reading

So we had to go back to Reading. Last week we went for the fosterling, and how easy was that. This time we had to get some new clothes for Ella, and that's not so easy. With her autism she has so many specific sensory needs. But we got there in the end, although there's a good chance, even though she has said she likes them, and they meet her needs, she will refuse to wear half of them!

A trip to Treatz afterwards was in order. We've been to Creams a couple of times (sounds grand, but once last year and once this year LOL!) and thought we should give Treatz a go, I can't say I prefer one over the other, they're both designed to fill you with as much sugar as they can, and in that respect they both win!

I just love these 2 photographs. Ella actually managed to eat most of hers, after she had given me her wafers and strawberries which I didn't mind in the least! I wasn't convinced she would, I mean look at the size of it :) The photo of the baby - oh how I wish you could see her face, such a picture. And while I was setting the camera up she managed to grab some of the chocolate sauce, and put it all over her hand and face. Note to self, she can stretch further than I think! LOL! By the way - the mint freakshake was for me, not the baby ;)
Monday, April 10, 2017

Haircuts and Special Needs!

We have had many trials and tribulations over the years with getting Ella's hair cut. When she was younger it was interesting. Sometimes I managed to cut it quickly and easily. Other times we had to do it over 2 days chasing her round the garden because she just wouldn't sit still! And as for the time when Jeff and Ella decided highlights were a good idea ....... say no more!

Once she became a teenager though we decided to give the stressful job to someone that gets paid for it! And again it's hit and miss. But today she went to a local hairdressers and they were great. Worked at Ella's pace, but I noticed the hairdresser was cutting twice as fast as she would for another adult. I didn't have a problem with that, as long as Ella walked out with an acceptable haircut. But this time was far more than acceptable - it was great! Well cut, level (not an easy thing to do with a fidget), and makes her look more grown up :) Let's hope the same hairdresser is still there when it next needs attention.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Jamie's Italian in Reading

We had to go to Reading today, needed to get the fosterling some clothes - being a baby she is outgrowing her clothes every few months! So off to Primark we went. And I still don't know how I spent so much, everything is so cheap LOL! Photograph another day, then you can see where I spent so much - but hey, she'll look lovely all summer so who cares ...... (well, Jeff might when he sees the receipt).

After shopping we went to Jamie's Italian. It's the first time we've tried it. Couldn't knock the service. Our starters were nice, but the main courses, well I wasn't wowed by mine, it was okay. But Ella's picnic did have the wow factor. I flinched at over six quid for a kids picnic, but when it arrived you can see why. And big tick for me was that all the grapes and cherry tomatoes were cut length ways, so important to prevent children choking.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Lake Tahoe here they come

Joshua and Benjamin went back to Lake Tahoe, USA, on the 4th April. It doesn't get any easier, but this time, knowing that Ben isn't coming back till Christmas, was the hardest. I am beginning to know how Nonna (my Dad's Mum) must have felt once all 3 of her children had moved to England. I think at that time it must have been much harder, all there was was snail mail, Nonno and Nonna didn't even have their own phone. For the person emigrating it was probably easier, you had to integrate. Nowadays it must be so difficult seeing what all your old friends are up to and knowing your not part of it. Sometimes not knowing is a good thing.

I mentioned to someone I am having empty-nest syndrome. She laughed and reminded me of the 3 fosterlings. And much as I love fostering and helping nurture all the children and young people we have had come into our care, I miss just hugging my boys. But can't have it both ways I am so proud that all 3 felt confident enough to move to another country.

Love these photos - although had to censor the boys! And this photo of Ella with the baby fosterling - the baby adores Ella, and after the last 2 lads that caused Ella stress, it's lovely to see Ella developing such a positive relationship with a fosterling :)
Monday, April 03, 2017

Poor Josh - another adductor longus repair :(

Last summer Joshua had an operation to repair an injury, on his right adductor longus (somewhere in the groin). Sadly he still didn't get match fit, and a subsequent MRI confirmed that the injury appeared no better than the previous MRI carried out before the first operation. That's obviously an abridged version of the last year, bless him.

So on April 3rd he had the same operation performed but it was much more intensive. Took twice as long and there is now 3 anchors holding the tear in place. It cannot fail this time or Joshua will have to come home and, in his words, will have wasted 2 years in the USA. And football is all he has ever wanted to do. We are all hoping, praying, crossing anything that can be crossed ..... well, you get the picture!

I love this photo - getting ready for surgery and it was like, "Take a photo Mum, I can make anything look good!"

Of course I sat there with him again. I know, all 3 operations I had last year Jeff just dumped me at the hospital door! But he's my baby, doesn't matter that he's 24, he's still my baby. While he was having his surgery I went to the restaurant and got a few bits - didn't feel right eating in front of him when he was nil-by-mouth. For the money we have paid for these operations, you'd expect the food to be top drawer. Hmmm, what I thought of them is on my IG - only one got the thumbs up!

Friday, March 31, 2017

March - what else?

March seemed to come and go while I was still saying goodbye to February!

Joshua and Benjamin came home for 10 days, and Ben's girlfriend also flew over. Love her already :)
We had a foster teen that broke our record and stayed a whole ....... 2 hours! I know we're odd, but didn't think we were that bad!
But in her place we have had two arrive, and they're still with us. So full house again!
Ella's dental work
And the holiday which I've covered in the last 5 posts!
Ascot wedding show
Ella had some visits at the adult respite facilities - she's not keen on the fact she'll be staying overnight LOL!
Ella's school production
Joshua had an appointment in Yorkshire for a Bone Density Scan and to see his specialist
Updated my facebook cover seeing it was a few years old and a bit out of date
Joe and Kerry got engaged!!!! Love her too :)
And with all the routine contact sessions, LAC medicals, doctors, dentists, etc, well, I sort of see where the month went!

Cornwall Part 5 - The last bits!

Quick post finishing off the trip to Cornwall. Some of my favourite shots of the week :)
Thursday, March 30, 2017

Cornwall Part 4 - Godrevy Beach and Cafe

A trip to another beach, this time Godrevy Beach and then the National Trust cafe next to the beach, Godrevy Cafe. Wish we had brought wellies as could have been tempted to walk around the coast again to try and find those elusive 100 seals!