Spending cuts to hit the North Harder – but what will they mean for you?

The wonderful Baby Genies post about the upcoming spending cuts really resonated with me today.  I am starting to wonder what is coming to the world.  I have blogged about make take on politics, the election and what I wanted to see before and it seems to be as though none of the politico's were listening.

So what will this week bring?  It seems to be that the word of the month has been fairness, although I fail to see what is fair about taking child benefit from families where one parent is in the higher tax bracket, especially is like us, I am not working.

Nick Clegg also announced this week that 15 hours a week of  preschool education will be open to children living in deprived areas.  This really makes my blood boil.  I live in a deprived area, in fact it was number two in a recent BBC survey of the least resilient areas to be able to cope with the forth coming spending cuts and the neighbouring towns in the number one position.  

I have witnessed first hand the death of local mums and toddler groups, due to the way that surestart operates in the local area.  I have been to events, where the mums leave their children with the surestart employees and sit and chat rather than getting down and playing with the children and I for one am unsure what help there is in putting these children in to a nursery or preschool situation from 2 years old.  They are just babies at this stage and surely wouldn't the money be better spent educating the parents what the children need rather than getting someone else to look after their children.

I understand they are trying to break the chain of poverty, but I do not understand what is to be gained for society by putting these children in to an educational setting at such an early age.  Shouldn't parenting children be down to parents not teachers and preschool educators?

So what else will the spending cut review bring and what will it mean to families like mine, who are funded by one main breadwinner (MadDad) whilst I look after the children, act as a care to my mother and also try and regain my health?
I have to say I fear for the NHS, I am not too young to remember the terrible waiting lists and was myself a victim to them in my early years, so much so that I had to have my tonsils and adenoids removed privately at 4 years old.  Currently I need the NHS, I need them to be available to help me with my chronic condition and also long term with my reconstruction for my double mastectomy.

We pay for both our boys to attend swimming lessons, as they only get one term of lessons at school and we both feel that being able to swim well is of key importance in life.  If any cuts to education comes then those lessons will be the first things to disappear and we scrimp and save to be able to afford lessons (£80 per 10 weeks for the boys).  We are unable to be able to afford to go swimming at the weekends with the boys now that the free swimming for under 16's has been cancelled and on speaking to the leisure centre attendance is down.

What about our village library, will that be cut too?  The village school is one of the largest in the area and seems to have building works done every summer, but it is still too small and more houses are being built, so what will become of the school, will class sizes get larger, there is already 30 children in Mini's class and 90 in his year?

So what do you think this week will bring, do you think it is fair and what are your fears for the future?



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11 Years ago Today

It was 6.30 am when the telephone rang, my first thought was who in earth could be calling at this time and punched MadDad to answer the phone (as it was on his side of the bed).

He did and then time just stood still. He turned to me as white as a sheet and with the words "there has been an accident, your Dad is in hospital. We need to leave now" the day stood still.

We lived in Berkshire at the time and my dad was in Middlesbrough General Hospital in the Intensive Care Unit over 320 miles away.  We got dressed, put the cats in their basket and drove stopping on the way to ring both works and explain that we were on the way to see my father.

We also had to make a call to The Mormon Temple at Preston as my brother was due to start his 2 year mission and we needed him to come and see dad too.

The journey home has never seemed so long and I have never ever played the CD again that played that day.

We got to the hospital before noon to find out that my mum had been with my father since the previous evening and that he was in an enforced coma, under heavy sedation and he had also been given drugs to paralyse him.

Everyday we went to the hospital to help with his care, hold his hand, read the paper to him and just chat.  I learned to shave him and got used to seeing him with all the wires and tubes and even the ventilator going in to his neck rather than his mouth.  I know what all the monitors meant and also what medication he was on.  We all waited with hope.

Until the morning of 4th November, when we made the heartbreaking decision to turn off the ventilator due to the consultants advice as my dad had sepsis. He never regained consciousness.    He died less than two minutes later in my mums, mine and MadDad's arms.  My brother couldn't watch and had just left the room.  

11 years ago today, I lost my father (rather than the day he died), the man I idolised and loved with every breath I took.  I miss him more every day.  I wish he could have met the boys, we named Maxi after him and I know he would love them just as much as I do.




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Encouraging Children to be Walkers

In an homage blatant copying of Chris at Thinly Spread, I bring you our favorite weekend Autumn Walk.  Now I am pretty lucky in the once the boys get started on a walk they love them and often it is MadDad and I who start back first.


We live in a very beautiful part of the country and are blessed to have fantastic countryside on our doorstep.  We live 200 yards away from a wonderful wooded area which is on The Cleveland Way.

So making the most of a dry day, we decided to set off on an adventure this afternoon.


I am not sure if it is a boy thing, but they always find something to do when we are in the woods, treed to play on and climb.


It is such a magical place and there is a beck that runs through the bottom of the valley, which the boys adore splashing in. 


They often wonder how the railway viaduct was build and how all the bricks got down to the valley bottom (by horseback).


With all the rain we have had the beck was rather fast flowing today, although neither of the boys fell in, which is a good result!


There has also been far too much rain to collect any of the leaves, they were very slippy underfoot.

There are lots of ways to encourage children to walk, but one of the boys favorites is to draw a map and follow it, alternatively you could also get a making tracks map, we have the North Yorkshire Moors set and they are excellent.
We try and always take out camera and also collect things too.  I came back with a pocket full of pine cones today.


Take inspiration to make an autumn tree, you done need to collect the leaves if they are wet as you can print some off and colour them in.

We have a great book all about trees and what type they are and the boys love looking at that too.

I would love to hear your ideas for encouraging your children to be walkers and enjoy the great outdoors.
 


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It would have never happened with a PFB (Precious First Born)

I have a confession to make, it is time to clean my soul.  Maxi loves Hot Chocolate and had fennel tea as a baby, well Mini he loves coffee, yes coffee.  Last year when Maxi started school Mini and I would visit a coffee shop once a week when we took my mum to hospital and our treat was a decaf latte and Mini would always love to drink my foam and finish the coffee and now you guessed it, decaf latte is his drink of choice!

So this got me thinking, what other things did I do differently with Mini, than I did with Maxi (15 months age gap).

Dummy - I always re sterilised Maxi's with Mini's if dropped I just popped it back in my mouth!
Secondhand - I soon learned second hand didn't mean second best!
Having a feeding chart - yes I had one for Maxi!
Thermometer in the nursery (didn't even have a nursery for Mini, he was in with us for 9 months whist we rented).
I strapped Maxi in to the swing with mini I just used to place him in it
I used to warm Maxi's milk in hot water, with Mini it was the microwave each and every time!
I had a separate kettle to boil the water for Maxi's bottle.
I used to make sure Maxi's bib matched his outfit.

The thing is a love him just as much, it is just I relaxed a little, plus I didn't have enough time to be as precocious as there is only 15 months between the boys.

So what are your parenting secrets?



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Move along, nothing to see!

KAXENSGF5BQK


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The Gallary – My Current Favorite Photo

I love lots of photo's and favorite choice changes with my mood, the time of day and well the month, year and all that jazz too.

At the moment my favorite photo is not one I took, but one that Mrs W from Clinically fed Up took when we were at The Mad Awards.  I love it because it captures the whirlwinds that are my boys.


Then I have my second favorite one, why well this is because it captures all of us Mads, happy laughing and generally having fun.


And you see that is the beauty of an image, it is a snap shot, a trigger of a memory, a certain moment in time, which is precious for a certain reason and even more precious at certain times.  

For me at the moment, it is my boys, my family that is getting me through each day and night, so they are my favorite and my best (as Lola would say)!

See more favorites over at this weeks Gallery

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After a pretty pants weekend

Most of my weekend has been spent feeling very sorry for myself with my head in a bucket and my bum on the sofa, so I was planning to use today to catch up, get the ironing done, plan some craft activities and finalise some of the reviews I have been doing too.

But fate has conspired against me, I went to the GP first thing to discuss my  crohn's diagnosis and get my blood results, only to find that my iron level is shockingly low.  Yes is is down to 8.1, so it looks like a need a blood transfusion again (yes it was only 4 months ago that I had one and yes I also take iron supplements every day).

So I am writing this, when really I should be arranging to have boys collected from school, mum taken to her hospital appointment, cancelling Maxi's GP appointment, arranging to get myself to hospital (no I didn't fancy going in an ambulance from the surgery) , getting MadDad home and sorting out dinner for everyone tonight, as I will be in overnight in all likelihood.

So time to turn off the PC and get cracking, catch you all later!

Edited to add that I am actually going in Tuesday now, so that I don't have to remain in overnight - fingers crossed!

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What do you do when your children are bright?

All children are unique, they are wonderful souls and a joy to be around.  But what do you do when your children are bright?  Maxi and Mini are both above average when it comes to intelligence.  I say this not as a smug mum, but as a concerned mum.  My aim for my children is and always has been happiness, for them to take life in both hands and enjoy it.  But this last week I have experienced something I never have before, Maxi has not wanted to go to school, as it is boring.


So MadDad and I decided that it was time that I spoke to his new teacher and discussed what could we all do to help and an appointment was made.  I am lucky enough to have a couple of really great twitter friends who have been available to advise me on life with bright children, the wonderful Chris at Thinly Spread and also working with bright children, Julia from What will Julia Do Next?and The Heads Office.

This cleverness is not something I discuss with many people in real life, as I don't want to Maxi to be labeled or for that matter be to be labeled as a smug, self centred mother who pushes her children, but it is becoming an issue.  The few parents who go into school and read with the children have already approached me about his reading skills and one mum asked me if he was a genius (erm no, he is a 5 year old)!  I have struggled to find an outlet for my fears and concerns as I don't want them to come across as a boasting or over proud mother, who can only define herself by her children's achievements or in the slight competitive about education, which I certainly am not.

But the fact of the matter is that Maxi not being challenged meant he was board and that mean he didn't want to go to school, which in turn meant he and I wasn't happy.  So I felt I had to take this in hand and deal with it and it that means Maxi being labeled as gifted and talented then so be it.  I am concerned for the here and now, we can deal with next years education when it comes around.  I need him to want to go to school now and moving him up a year is not the solution in my eyes.  He is 5 years old, he has the social skills of a five year old and he needs to learn to deal with his talents and also with his peers to become part of their group.

So it was with great trepidation I went to meet Mr P, Maxi's teacher.  I was keen for Maxi not to become know as the pushy mothers son and lots of other analogies, but truth is, he is clever and advanced in both mathematics and literacy.

I am pleased to say it was a great meeting and I was also delighted to realise that Maxi's talents had already been picked up on and that action was going to be taken to keep him more involved and challenged throughout the school year.  We agreed on an interim action plan for the next couple of weeks (until Parent Evening) and I came home with a new reading book for Maxi (bought by his wonderful teacher) and a much better feeling about sending my child off to school.

We also made the decision that Maxi was not going to remain in the AFA (Achievement For All) scheme and would rather be moved in to a special maths group with the older children, which will be finalised over the next couple of weeks.

We are lucky in that Maxi is great at sport and hope that he can use this as an outlet to help get through school without sticking out as the clever one or the nerd.  It was how MadDad managed his intelligence and maybe Maxi and one day Mini can do the same.

I feel so much more relieved know that we are putting a plan of action in play for Maxi.  For the next couple of weeks he will be focusing on his writing ability, to enable him to move and be taught with different classes as he needs to be.  He will be focusing on spellings of tricky words, rather than reading (which he is fine with) and also some of the mathematics from later in the year, until his teacher gets his personal learning plan in place in time for parents evening before the end of term.


I am happy to say that Mini's needs are being catered for as he has Maxi's teacher from last year, the delectable Mrs S and she is one of the best teachers I have ever had the pleasure to meet.


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I have moved!

Virtually that is, to


Please come and join me.

I would also love it if you could change my links in any blog rolls etc I have been lucky enough to be added to.

Thanks for taking this journey with me.

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Finallaly getting a Diagnosis and learning to live with it

Over the last year or so I have been pretty under the weather.  I have been constantly shattered, had major issues with my bowels and been in and out of hospital for numerous tests including scans, x-rays, a barium follow through and blood transfusions.

Yesterday I was finally given a diagnosis.  I have Crohns Disease, which although isn't curable, but it is treatable and hopefully I will go into remission once the right treatment balance is reached.  The Crohns explains why I am anemic and also low in B12, so dependant on blood results I will have either an iron infusion or blood transfusion next week (hopefully) and also a B12 injection and we will see how I progress and my options going forward will be discussed with the consultant at my next visit in a month of so's time.

The crohns diagnosis explains most of my symptoms, but not he acute pain I have in my shoulder and chest at times and also the pretty constant feeling of nausea, however, we have also discovered I have giant para esophageal hernia (which in all likelihood has been with me since birth), but with pregnancies and my mastectomy surgery may have moved to create these symptoms.  This is going to require surgery, however, I need to have a much higher hemoglobin level before this can take place.

My illness has had a pretty big impact on family life, but now we know what it is, we can take steps to treat it and I am very relieved that it isn't bowel cancer (which due to the BRCA gene I have a higher risk of).  It will also mean postponing any reconstructive surgery until after my para esophageal hernia surgery, which is a little upsetting.

However, we have come though much worse than this and I will get though, no we will get through this as a family.



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