Speech Therapy Assesment

The eldest Minimad was born with a tongue tie which didn't go until he was 5 months old and it has caused him to have issues with the F sound, so the preschool referred him to a speech therapist.
This morning was his assessment at home and she asked him to sound out lots of words, to try and isolate where he had any issues.
He can sound it out at the end and middle of a word, but not at the beginning, so she is going to send us details of some fun exercises we can do over the holidays and see him once he enters Reception class this September.
I think we all want what is best for our children and I was so relived to hear that he has fantastic language and vocabulary and that she really has no concerns at all.
He did the exercise with her and then disappeared to play games with Grandma Mad and the youngest Minimad, whilst she explained all this to me and then as we were finishing up she put her arm on my shoulder and told me she had had a mastectomy two years ago and asked how I was getting on. I don't want peoples sympathy and hadn't told her of my issues - although I haven't got my prosthetics on (not many people notice or if they do they are too polite to say).
She told me that you could feel the love I have for my children from the moment she walked in the house and that I should cherise everyday as they grow up far too soon. How wonderful to have a virtual stranger come in and say that to you. I have tears in my eyes.
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Mondays are home bluring days and an update on the bed

Mondays for us in TheMadHouse are home blessing or bluring day as I call it.
This means that we go round and polish all rooms, vacuum, sweep and tidy and I do me we. Each of the mini mads has their own pinny and feather duster, they also have a sweeping brush and can use the hand help vacuum too.
This way the house is all prepared (as much as possible) for the rest of the week.
This weeks intensive clean is the master bedroom, so I will concentrate on cleaning in there, doing the skirting, cobwebs, windows etc.
I try and instill the boys not to have all their toys out at once and also to put things away when we have finished with them, everything has a place.
Whilst I have hoovered etc the boys have been doing some colouring and plating on the swings in the garden.
We have also made a decision to cancel the bed and asked them to come and take the damaged one back.
The eldest MiniMad has bunks in his room and they have been sharing, youngest in the bottom and it has worked well, so much so they asked if they could share. To which we said a resounding yes and spent much of yesterday afternoon re-arranging furniture.
So now the minimads share a room and we have a spare room with a sofabed, wardrobes and some of the larger toys in.
This means we also now have a study/ironing room with much more space in, so I plan to move all my scrapbook stuff upstairs so that I can do it when they are on the PC. We are also putting back my nursing chair from the garage.
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Spiritual Sunday

Before I went in to hospital MadDad bought me some Power Thought Cards by Louise Hay. They are a wonderful, colourful set of inspirational thoughts which I use in quiet moments to think and center my thoughts.

I keep them in the kitchen and look to them during a quiet moment and todays card reads

I turn every experience into an opportunity

Each problem has a solution
All experiences are opportunities for me to learn and grow
I am safe

They really confirm and compound on all the positive thinking I am doing. I carry a thought card in my purse which reads "I am thinking positively towards the future" specifically for when I am having down days about my health.

One of my big things at the moment is gratitude, I find that it kind of multiplies and that if I think of all the things I am grateful for the negative thoughts can not get in. I am going to start a gratitude journal and document these things at the end of the evening. It is often the small things that I am most grateful for and I want to document it more.
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Wet weather games and puzzels

As the Mini's get older one of the great things about wet days it that we can play board games and puzzles together.

One of our new favourites is Orchard Toys Shopping list, which is like bingo with food, you place all the pieces face down, each have a shopping list and a trolley and the first to get their trolley all full with food shouts shopping list. This is great as the youngest Mini Mad who is just 3 can play along too.

We also have a leapfrog Bingo game, which has a wheel to turn and works on the same format, it has shapes, numbers, colours, animals and also easy sums.

The eldest MiniMad has always loved board games and jigsaw puzzles and can find the correct piece much faster than me. He is currently doing 60+ piece ones.

We are also rediscovering blocks, specifically duplo and lego, previously the youngest has always taken great delight in knocking down or breaking what ever the eldest had made upsetting him terribly, but now he likes to try and build and play himself too, which is brilliant.

So this is what we have spent the majority of our rainy Saturday doing, oh along with a perennial favorite of the boys - play dough
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Its raining its pouring

The weather is very wet at the moment, so much so that a 25 min journey took me and the boys an hour and a half this afternoon and was very hairy in places. I was secretly pretty apprehensive, but the mini's were loving every minute of it! Especially as they watched two cars fail to make it though the flooding and they gave a great big cheer when we manged to get through, MadDads voice in my head "high revs and go slow". I have a diesel and that does make it easier in the wet.

Well one thing that is loving the rain is our garden. MadDad installed a water butt when he built the raised beds and we have been amazed at how much water it collects and uses and we love the fact that it is so ecological too (one of the other things we want to instill in the children is looking after their planet).

We are really enjoying the fruits of MadDads labour and the peas are wonderful and sweat almost like sweets. The mangetout are so crisp and delicious. The kale and chard plentiful and both boys love them, although MadDad is not so keen. The potatoes are coming on well, but we planted them a couple of weeks late due to hospital, so we are waiting before trying them. The cabbage are yummy and well you get the picture it all tastes so much better when you grow it yourself with no pesticides and anyway I am running out of ways to describe the taste. The spinach seemed to have taken over so we have pulled a couple of the plant.

We are excited watching the rest and the boys seem to be even more excited than me. The eldest MiniMad came in and jumped up and down when the beans first flowered. we have eaten carrot thinning in salads. The mixed salad leaves have not done so good, neither the belotti beans or the corn. The pumpkins, leeks, onions, sprouts, broccoli, cauli and parsnips are all looking promising.

Even better still the apple tree we planted last year (we moved in to a new build, so our garden was just a building site 2 years ago) is bearing fruit. We have strawberries in hanging baskets and I think we need to have much more strawbs next year as the boys love them.

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The bad and the good

The youngest MiniMads big boy bed arrived first thing this morning and the grumpy delivery men refused to carry it upstairs - jobsworths.

So I asked them to lay it down in the sitting room and we decided to go out to soft play as it was raining cats and dogs (still is in fact).

The Mini's spent 4 hours running round like the mad men they are working up a sweat and having fun.

MadDad came home early to put the bed up and we decided to open the bed and carry it upstairs as it was far too heavy for me to attempt to lift. Anyway to cut a long story short - it is damaged, not a little, but snapped in two Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

I have spent the last 45 mins on hold. "Your call is important to us, you are in a queue, please hold or call us back" Double Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. I finally get through only to find out the bed is out of stock and will not be back in stock until next Thursday.

We want this particular bed as it matched his furniture, so we are held over a barrel really.

Anyway youngest MiniMad was really upset as we had been building him up to transferring to a bed boy bed all week and I was made the proudest mum in the world when the eldest Mad piped up "you can have my big boy bed and I will sleep in your old cotbed until you arrive". I nearly burst with pride. I love my children.
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You can stop the world again – I am ready to get back on

The day has improved, unlike the weather. It is heavy shower after heavy shower.

I gave in on the trying to dry a super king size duvet and a single duvet, along with all the bedding and went out a bought cheap (£10 and £5) ones from Argos. At least this way I will have a spare should it ever happen again. I rationalised that it was a cheap as going to the laundrette and the fact is that my washer can cope with the duvets, so I may as well.

One of the things the boys have discovered in the rain is that you much faster sown a wet slide if you are naked. So my poor neighbours have been subjected to them running out and jumping on the slide in the middle of the down pours.

We managed to get the shopping done this morning with only the minimal amount of stress and MadDad managed to get in to have a family dinner with us. Home made lasagna and garlic bread yum yum.

The forecast for the next couple of days isn't great (well it is for the garden and the veg, but not the children or me), so I will be delving in to our rainy day activities.
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Hell in a handcart

I guess this morning is just the start of one of those day that you wish hadn't started. I guess the night wasn't that great either.

The Youngest MiniMad didn't settle at all and ended up sleeping in our bed, which meant that I had hardly any sleep. The eldest MiniMad had one of his very rare accidents (he has a chest infection and all the that coughing can not help). I spilt my cup of tea all over my bed.

Came down to put the first load of washing in to find The Cooking Fat had had two accidents during the night too.

Now the thing is Thursday are not the most favorite of my days. It is food shopping in the morning with my mum and the boys at Aldi and then I have a regular appointment on the afternoon and it is always so stressful. Today even more so, as I need to get sheets and Duvets for the youngest's new big boy bed which arrives tomorrow morning (hopefully).

Also I have had a falling out with a friend, which is really hard as I don't make friends lightly or easily and only have a few really close friends. I am trying to make amends, but she is not taking calls or answering e-mails and with two children I can not just drop everything and visit.

So I need to take a chill pill, relax a little and try to centre myself and finnish drawing out the shopping lists for the boys.
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"That wasnt a yawn my mouth just stalled"

The youngest MiniMad is going through a stage of not wanting to go to bed on his own or even be on his own and he is fearful of everything.

We have tried to rectify this as much as we can, by reassurance, by turning off the light, by turning on the light, by moving his bed, by ordering a big boy bed, by removing the stickers on his wall, by reading to him and short of actually remaining with him until he falls asleep, we can not get him off to sleep.

Tonight he has been in bed since 7pm and fighting sleep, whenever we leave the room he sobs and comes downstairs. I have stayed with him and he woke and came back down. MadDad sat with him when he returned home from work after a late appointment.

We keep telling him he is tired and he keeps just falling off and then waking with a jolt. He has just come down stairs again and done a great big yawn and informed us "that wasn't a yawn mummy and daddy, my mouth just stalled". What a way to get to get to stay up.
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Learning to FLY

I am an avid follower of Flylady - it is a great routine, which means that the housework should never pile up and that spring cleaning should never need to be done.

It lets you build up new habits and also develope routines that suit you and your family. Over the last two years flylady has been a godsend. It helped me come out of my PND and also meant that when I was in hospital MadDad and other family knew what needed doing and when it needed doing.

It also means that I have time to concentrate on being with the MiniMads and that they understand that the house needs cleaning and help out. Both have their own feather dusters and pinny's and help with the polishing, wiping, tiding etc. They put their clothes in the wash basket, they get the next days clothes out and put them in their designated place too.

We felt that it was important that the boys understood how the house run and take responsibility to help out. I want them to grow up being able to look after them self and a house, to be able to load a washing machine and iron. I want them to be able to be an equal partner to the person they fall in love with.

MadDad and myself have a nice division of labour, both concentrating on the things we do best - he does all the nasty jobs, the cat litter, the bins and dishwasher on a morning!!!

He understands that I like things to have a place and that I NEED to have the bedclothes all nice and tidy and the duvet right upto the edges of the duvet cover and when I came out of hospital he made sure that they were perfect for me.

I think that what makes our relationship work, concentrating on the things that we can do for each other that take no doing, understanding our little peculiarities and in fact loving each other because of them.
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Ducklings – my little swimmers

I take the minimads swimming once a week and have done since both of them were six weeks old. It is important to me and MadDad that they have confidence in the water and enjoy swimming.

The Eldest MiniMad graduated to swimming lessons on a Tuesday afternoon just after his forth birthday and is really enjoying the Independence that it brings and is currently doing his Duckings 4 badge. The youngest and I go to an organised session on a Wednesday morning and he has just completed his Duckings 2.

However, over the holidays both the Mini's and I will be going every Wednesday morning. we used to all go together until April anyway. Swimming is one of the exercises that I find really easy to do after the mastectomy, although my muscles do hurt a little on the evening.

I forgot how much fun it is taking two of them and trying to get them dressed and get myself dressed too. I do find that a lolly whilst dressing them keeps them quiet and gives me the chance to get dressed to.
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How does your garden grow

We have tried to teach the boys were the produce we eat comes from since they were tiny - having a father in law who is a dairy farmer really helps. So we grow veg in our small garden.

After coming out of hospital MadDad decided that I needed raised beds to make this more accessible this year and set to work with his trusty saw and transformed some old planks of wood in to 3 fantastic raised beds. We are now beginning to see the fruits of his labours.

We planted cabbage, cauli, broccoli, kale, chard, spinach, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, onions, leeks, beans, peas, pumpkins, courgettes and strawberry's in our little beds.

It is wonderful watching them eat all the food we have grown and also the amazement as they see things grow before their very eyes.

They each help water the plants and take responsibility for their own pot of sunflowers - feeding them and watering them too.

I am very lucky in that both the boys love eating veg, but this introduces new veg to them very easily and we are having ratatouille for lunch
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Introducing Mr Smudge aka TheCookingFat

Mr Smudge our large white cat has been with us for 13 years and used to be part of a double act with his partner in crime Snowey, who sadly left us just over 3 years ago. He is a grand old long haired cat, who tolerates the MiniMads and loved to be fussed over by grown ups, any grown up and leaves us little presents and hair all over the place. He was one of the main reasons we have a wooden floor downstairs, as it is a pain in the butt vacuuming cat hair all the time.
Things Mr Smudge does which are not at all cat like
  1. He licks the TV screen when you turn it off
  2. He comes in when called
  3. He refuses to use a cat flap, preferring to yowl until you open the door for him
  4. He likes being groomed
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Ice Treasures

The MiniMads played with ice treasures I had frozen earlier this afternoon. It is a great idea that I borrowed from a friend. I froze small items eg plastic dino's, bugs and beads in layers in a bowl and then let them lose with salt toothbrushes and spray bottles filled with coloured warm water. It is especially great when the weather is warm. You could always do smaller ones in ice cube trays or weaning pots, which would take less melting and put the whole cube in a bowl of warm water.
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Painting Money Boxes

My boys loves painting objects and I often keep an eye out for things in the pound shops and put them in our craft cupboard for morning like this.
Both boys have been up since six and asking to paint, so I got out of my stash a couple of small money boxes for them to paint, granted the poster paint in them had dried out, but I have plenty of that.

So they both sat at the dining table with old newspaper under and started work on their masterpieces.

I have also frozen some ice treasures for later on this afternoon whilst my mum is looking after them during an appointment for me. I will update on those later in the day.

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Crafts for the Teacher

The Eldest MiniMad had his last day at preschool (nursery) on Friday and he has really enjoyed the time he spent there and I so wanted to tank his two teachers for the fantastic time he has had. He would run there on a morning and not want to leave when I collected him 2 hours later.

I know many people do not agree with presents for the teacher, but it was an effort to show the appreciation I have for them and also the fact that I entrusted them with my Perfect First Baby.

MiniMad never does any arts or crafts at preschool, I guess that is due to the fact that we do them all the time at home, so I decided we would decorate a cup for each of the teachers and fill with hot chocolate and herbal teas.
It is really easy as he just uses his finger and I embellish with a pen, so we did pigs, flowers, butterfly's and bees.

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A little bit about us all and the start of the holidays

We are a family of five, trying to get through life in a happy, but somewhat chaotic house. I am a little obsessive, MadDad is practically perfect in every way and the MiniMads are happy, joyful, curly haired monsters aged 4 and 3. We also have a really old long hair white cat Mr Smudge to you and me, he kind of some and goes as he pleases.

MadDad works Monday to Friday to keep us in pennies and I am a SAHM, who is going to tentatively start work part time over the summer at home.

This is our first summer before the eldest MiniMad starts school and is a really big milestone for us

I underwent a double mastectomy in February and didn't think I would be here to experience this summer at all, so I thought I would keep a record of what we did and are going to do.

Today is the first day of the holidays for us, Preschool finished last week and all our organised mum and toddlers finish this week too. So today has been a planning day and an imagination day for the boys.

Our dinning room has become a Bedouin tent with the dinning table and chairs covered with blankets and the floor with every cushion and pillow in the house.

We have made a tepee with garden canes and played at cowboys with woody and Jessie from Toy Storey.

I have also been declared heartless by the MiniMads when they were in their Doctor modes, as they could not discover a heartbeat at all (nothing new there then MadDad would declare)

We have also been planning what we want to get up to and the best way to show it. So have done a summer holiday planner and activities, which I am going to laminate and we can stick the activities on the right day.

We have also brainstormed the type of activity we want to do over the summer break.

Splitting it in to Go, Do, Make and Read. I guess that this will get added to quite a lot when we all think of things that we want to do or explore during the summer break.
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