Blog Swap – Introducing Kelly from A place of my own

Hi Guys, Kelly and I have swapped homes for the day, I have posted over at her place today and she mine.  I have posted a great idea for Mothers day, so do pop on over and read it.  Also Kelly's blog is a great read in itself, so I urge you to have a good read, if you don't already. 

Hi, I am Kelly from A place of my own and I have been allowed into the Madhouse for a day. It's really rather nice here, I promise to wipe my feet and tidy up after myself. I have written a little something to share with you all, I hope you enjoy it:

I Tweet, do you?

I cannot remember how it started, why I started or even how I found out about it. Which would have me worried about the state of my memory but I do know that I was pregnant at the time so that makes perfect sense. I have just looked and my first tweet was on 11th February 2009, and I tweeted:

Eating polos and wondering if anyone would notice if she went home.

Thankfully, within a day or so I stopped talking about myself in the third person and I hope that my tweets became slightly more interesting. Or perhaps a little more bizarre. Or a mix of both. At the start I followed a lot of celebrities, but over the months I have culled them out, preferring real people with real lives who will have conversations with me.

In the beginning Twitter was fun, a way to connect with some new and interesting people. It was like Facebook but just the interesting status bit. It linked in with blogging, something that I had been doing for years. It came into its own when I finished work in May to go on maternity leave. I cannot say that I miss work, but I do miss the social aspect of working in a busy office. I miss the in jokes and the mickey taking. I miss sharing anecdotes about my weekend and moaning about someone or something that has upset me. I might not be able to do it face to face anymore, but whenever I want some company, a chat, a laugh it is all there, streaming into my home. I can dip in and dip out when I want to. Or I can switch it all off for a day and enjoy the quiet.

It has other benefits as well. Those night feeds with a newborn were made more bearable as I connected with others doing exactly the same thing. Usually any time of day, and most of the night I have people on hand to offer advice, suggestions, to check information and to keep me sane. People who let me know that I am not alone, that reassure me that I am doing well, that sympathise when I am having a bad day, who send virtual (((hugs))). There is always someone there willing to share in my excitement when Piran hits a new milestone, or if I just feel like sharing a picture of him looking cute.

It seems strange that I have been tweeting for over a year. Some days I wonder how long it will last, will I still be doing it in another year, two, five? Will something come along to replace it? Will everyone suddenly realise that they have better things to do? I really hope not.

So, do you tweet? I am @Kellyfairy, and I would love it if you would introduce yourself and say hello. I promise to share some cute baby photos.
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Marriage, mostly under rated I fear

These are the flowers from my wedding bouquet, which we had made in to paperweights for me, mum, MIL and my Great Aunt

I believe in the sanctity of marriage.  I believe in my vows all of them, yes even the obey.  I married MadDad 15 years ago next month and it was the best day of my life.  I believe that there is a reason to marry, that children are best when born within wedlock and also raised within a happy family.

I believe that you must work hard at your marriage and that in principal a marriage is "death do us part".  I married MadDad with no intention of divorce and I feel even stronger about this now I have children.  I have high standards and hold MadDad to the same standards, but then he is the same with me.  I expect faithfulness in body, soul and mind.  I will not tolerate any infidelity even in thought and neither would he.

Before we married we sat down and discussed our hope and fears for our lives and we decided that we would always try and resolve any issues we may have.  To never sleep on an argument and to always attempt to see the other side.

It hasn't and isn't always plain sailing, but we will both bend as much as we can and will work at resolving any issues that may arise.

So yes I am a traditionalist, I am old fashions, but I am not ashamed to hold my views, they may not be as common place today as they were 50 years ago, but that doesn't mean that they should be dismissed.  I wear them on my sleeve, no actually I wear them on my third finger left hand.

So I have a toast to all you married couples out there:

May your marriage be modern enough to survive the times,
but may it be old fashioned enough to last forever.


This was wrote for this weeks writing workshop at Sleep is for the week, tell me about a side to yourself that makes you feel a little old fashioned.


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The Gallery – Beauty

Tara at Sticky fingers has introduced The Gallery designed to showcase all the amazing photographs she sees dotted around the bloggisphere.

And the first 'theme' she chose was beauty.

I have chosen to showcase two photographs and explain why they sit the bill for me.  Firstly a photograph I took during the recent snow we have had.  I love snow, it makes the whole world seem clean and sparkly and it also can make the most mundane things dance.  This is a photo of some mint in the garden, which I cut down over the autumn. Isn't it amazing how the snow turns it in to a thing of beauty.


My second image represents my quest to find beauty in the everyday and try to recycle as much as possible.  Me and Minimad make this garland for valentines out of an old Boden catalogue, but we loved it so much it is still hanging in our dining room.


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Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor or what I wish I known when choosing a career

When I was growing up I always wanted to be an accountant, well I gave it a try and did pretty well, but it wasn't for me.  The only interaction I got was with numbers, so I took an opportunity and became an Office Manager for a small company who were on the up.

I used my skills to help relocate the company to Berkshire and went on to become a Facilities Manager for a large software company.  I loved my job, but.....

It just wasn't flexible enough when in came down to spending time with my children.   It was kind of an all or nothing position, where if the office was burning, I would need to be there.  I couldn't give my boys 100% and work 100%, it just didn't add up and as you have guessed, I am an all or nothing type of person.  I would never have been satisfied in not being the best I could.

So we made the decision to relocate back to the North East in the hope that we could afford for me to be a stay at home mum.  What went wrong, well I needed to have the operations, I had complications and MadDad was forced to take unpaid leave and we were forced to get in to debt to pay the mortgage.  So I guess life happened!

So no financially we are in a bit of a bind here in TheMadHouse and the time has come for me to start looking for another job, ideally starting in September when MiniMad goes back to school.

I wish it was as simple as it sounds, but I am not willing to compromise on my time with the children, so I am looking for:

A school hours job, which would need to be term time only or
A job working from home or
An Evening Job

I am looking, but these jobs are like gold-dust, they are what every mother seems to be looking for and that my friends is what brings me to my title.

When at careers fairs whilst growing up, I was encouraged to find myself a career, something high powered, something full on, something 9 to 5, what no one ever told me is that once you have children things change.  You may find yourself wanting to take career break, which can mean it is hard to keep up with current requirements for your chosen career.  You might want to work shorter hours and this can be hard when managing people and contracts.  

What I wish I had known back then was that I wouldn't have wanted to be at work during my children's early years, the years when I can influence them and make an impact on their lives and that when I did return to work I wouldn't have the same ambition or requirements.

So it is back to looking through the papers, visiting the job centre and networking for me.  Trying to find a position that fits in with the needs of my family.

In an ideal world, I would love a job share with MadDad, but we went down different paths, so it isn't possible.  I don't want to be a teacher, I know that although it may seem like a suitable term time position, but all the teachers I know put in about double the hours people realise.

It just seems like a waste, I know my mother feels that it truly is, or at least she did.  She admitted that she feels that she was envious of the fantastic career that I had and wishes she had been privy to the opportunities I had, but the truth is that I feel that the children are my job and I am more than happy to make them my priority for the immediate future.

Would I have gone down the same road if I had realised that I would feel this way after I had the children.  Well hindsight is a wonderful thing.  I really don't know.

What I might have done was look at a flexible career, maybe nursing, or maybe even looked at being a teaching assistant.  I most definitely would have taken a serious look at working for myself in a flexible position.  Even being a hairdresser would have given me more options than I currently have.

So how do I move forward from this, for once I have no idea.

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Young at Heart Photo Albulm

I was tagged by the lovely Linda at You've got your hands full for the Young at Heart Photo Album and I was overjoyed, as I now have a new to me scanner and I want to use it!

So this is me (I am the one with the red shoes on, in case you were wondering) and the wonderful Rupert the Bear posing at Peasholm Park in Scarborough in what will have been the mid 1970's.

Back then I adored Rupert, almost as much as I adored my Dad and Grandad and here we will have been on holiday in our touring caravan, me, mum, dad and Grandpa.
I had an idyllic early childhood, my Grandad lived at home with us and although we didn't have lots of spare cash, we had lots of love and we went on lots of holidays in the UK in our great trailer tent, which was upgraded this year to a touring caravan.

My Dad and Granddad worked together, lived together and also holidayed together and I was always sandwiched between the two.  We visited most places in the UK and it was brill.  I remember brown curtains, sideburns, getting washed in a bucket and lots and lots of giggles.  It was a different time, a more innocent time and in some ways it is what me and MadDad are trying to reproduce with the minimads.

Now on to my taggee 

She is sat on her very favourite ride on orange rabbit and actually appears to be all fringe. She has obviously been hard at work doing something as she is sporting a lovely Noah's Ark apron.  What else can I tell you about her well she has a lovely baby boy, loves penguins and Cornwall and can not be categorised.  She is wonderfully creative and a great baker.  Have you guessed who she can be and where she is hiding yet?

Have you guessed who it is?   Find your way to her blog where she’ll post her contribution and name her own tagee soon. All she has to do is include the meme name Young at Heart Photo Album in her post so Tara can follow it as it winds its way through all the lovely blogs out there…


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Spiritual Sunday – A pause in Lent week 2


First an update on my giving up shouting.  I am trying and trying I am, I have not yet succeeded, but I am more aware of it, as are the boys.  If I do shout they tell me off, but they also react.  So I am still trying to give up shouting, just as the boys are trying to give up fighting!

What is lent and what should it mean to me as a modern reluctant worshiper?

I find this very hard to fathom, yes I know that it is a time of reflection and preparation for Easter.  A time to consider Jesus sacrifices and also his time spent in the desert.  A time to consider Judas' betrayal.  But how does that correspond to my life as a modern day mum of two boys and how do I mark this event?

I said last week that I didn't want to forsake something like chocolate, as I wanted the boys to understand that giving up something didn't mean taking from or self deprivation and that in choosing to try and give up shouting it was of benefit to us all.
But even then that just doesn't feel to represent enough what lent should mean.  I am finding it hard to navigate this journey through lent, it is without many of the familiar sights and sounds of other times of the Christian calender.

MadDad and I were married during Lent, the vicar thought it was a great idea and we were allowed to remove the purple cloths and to also bring in to the church flowers for the service.  In our local church they never had flowers during lent and also covered the crosses with purple cloths.  In doing this we upset a number of the older congregation, but still to this day I do not understand why it should not be as acceptable to be married during lent.

Out vicar told me I should look upon lent as a time when Jesus put others before himself and that for a good and strong marriage we should always consider the other person, that we should love one another as Jesus would have loved us.  

So for me Lent has become a time where I tend to take stock and concentrate on my marriage, to try not to put the children and others first all the time, but to try and concentrate on MadDad, to not expect everything to just work, every good machine needs a little oil at some time.


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Why have children when you have parents?

I suppose there comes a time in every person's life when their parents stop being the supporters and start being the ones who need the support and the help of their children.

Well it seems that that time has come all too soon in the Mad family.  My mum who is only 66 is in hospital yet again.  She is not in the best of health generally as she suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, but she how has COPD and is suffering with type 2 respiratory failure and it appears that she caught a chest infection on her holiday in Florida, which meant that she became oxygen compromised and when me and MiniMad visited at 9am on Wednesday morning, we couldn't rouse her and had to call 999. (she returned to the UK late Monday).

Safe to say Wednesday is not a day I want to repeat in a hurry, the whole experience was frightening, not only for me, but my adorable, perceptive and impressionable three year old was in the thick of it too.

The Ambulance and first responder staff were excellent and she was blue lighted to A&E.  Me and Mini followed behind in the car.  The first thing I did after ring for an ambulance was to call MadDad and ask him to meet me at the hospital to take Mini, as he didn't need to see anymore of this.

Now my mum has been hospitalised with breathing difficulties before in January of this year in fact, but never as serve as this.  She is a strong willed woman and not only was she virtually silent, she was compliant and fading in and out of consciousness.  

I watched, listened and talked to the nurses and the doctor and we made the decision to put mum on to DPAP, as she really wasn't getting enough oxygen even with a mask on.  It was a very, very frightening time for me.  Even with the DPAP my mums stats weren't rising sufficiently and we had to discuss ventilation, this felt like a slap in the face for me.

When my father was involved in an industrial accident more than 9 year ago, he was ventilated so I know all the issues that come with ventilation and once someone has had it, well recovery is a challenge and also it can become necessary for future hospitalisation's.

Thankfully she started to pull through and her statistics improved thanks to some medication they gave her, but all the same I was emotionally exhausted.  She was finally stable enough to be transferred from resus to a ward at 4.30 pm.  That was when I got my first drink of the day!

I left her sleeping at 5.30 and came home to eat with the mini's and pop them to bed, well we all had a cuddle on Mummy's bed and that was all I remember till 6am yesterday morning.  I was emotional exhausted as well as physically tired.

Me and the mini's visited yesterday and she is going to be in quite a while, so is now reliant on me and my brother for everything she needs yet again.  We have agreed that I will visit daily with the children from 3pm to 5pm and then he will visit from 7pm to 8pm.  This means an additional hour a day in the car for me and the boys as the hospital is not close to us in the sticks.

Harder than all the visiting is having to make the decisions on what needs to be done.  Mum will be in a while and will not be allowed home without oxygen, which means that she has to stop smoking.  I told her this yesterday and she is going to.  neither I nor the nurses will wheel her out for a cigarette and she isn't well enough to walk, so lets hop this time she really does stop.

I am so glad that she is going to be OK, but I can only see things going down hill from this point forward.  I will have to become more and more involved with her care and ensure that she is looked after correctly.  I will have to mother her, when all I want is for her to mother me.  I am 36 years old and already my mother needs my support and care.

It is expected of me as her daughter, she expects it, my brother expects it and to some extent I knew it was coming, but just not so early.  My baby's are only 3 and 4 they need me still, they need to be the centre of my life and have all my attention.  I don't want to share it yet, I am not ready.
The thing is my mum and dad nursed my paternal grandfather at home and after that she said that she would never subject me or my brother to it, but slowly it is what she is doing.  little by little she is expecting more and gets upset if I tell her that I can not manage it.  

So what am I going to do, I don't know...... not yet, my focus at the moment it to get her out of hospital and settled with oxygen at home and then I will think about the future.  But one thing I do know is I will manage, I can manage.  I am a mother.


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Marching to the beat of my Drum


I used to be in a marching band
I used to play the kazoo
yep that awful, awful gold thing
that no one knew what to do

I used to wear a uniform
with frilly knickers underneath
I used to wear a big white hat
with a chain that hit my teeth

Green and white or Red and blue
The uniform depended on what you do
I had gold epaulets and a sash with medals on
My mum and dad were very proud and used to cheer me on

I had a feather in my hat
knee high socks that just wernt cool
This was the secret that I kept
From my friends in school

The thing is that I was good at it
I won lots of trophies and awards
My unform now is all fornlorn
in my mothers drawers

Twice a week we used to practice
in the old pier hall
until the floor became rotton
And the boards began to fall

We walked for miles and miles
not always in weaqther all that fine
I was promoted to Band Major
I swang my mace and ensured that we all kept time

I used to be in a bank you know
It wasn't cool, it wasn't hip
I used to be in a band you know
I aren't any more, so tootle pip


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Children’s Craft Showcase – Masking Tape

PicMonkey Collage
This one goes out to all of you with little ones, ones that scribble and just love free art.
Masking tape, as low tack as possible
crayons, pens, pencils, glitter, paint
I know that I keep going on about not passing your perfectionism on to your children and letting them express themselves, but it is so true.  I also know that there are lots of people out there who don't craft with their children because they fear the mess, well this is one for you.
By using masking tape, you can tape the paper on to the table, which is great for smaller children and stopped the paper moving.
You can also use different width tape, as the aim is to create a border of blank paper around the drawing.
Mini loves scribbling or making the paper colourful and this is a great way of letting him express himself.  I have also used this method with stamping and fabric printing.
So if you are inspired to do any crafty things with your children over the next couple of weeks then please link to me with the McLinky as I look to look at the things you all make and do.
Future Projects
We are going to be doing some Easter projects so please keep some egg shells for out next showcase! Share/Save/Bookmark
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Dr F’s Casebook

Pajama bear had to go in for surgery over the weekend, you see he had developed a couple of holes and he needed to be fixed.

So cue the medical kit - stat, outfit - stat, stethoscope -stat, tape - stat, well you get the picture.

Mini was a very good doctor, who decided all would be well one he "snipped off bears boobies"!  He made sure that he was kind and considerate to his patient.

He tried to tape him up and bandage him, but to no avail, emergency surgery was required and mummy Consultant had to administer sutures, whilst nurse mini and maxi assisted.

The patient has had plenty of rest and fluids and is feeling a lot better now and so is Mini.

But Golly being a Junior Doctor is exhausting work!

As you can possibly tell mini has a bear obsession.  He needs his bears and they all have names, we have Pajama bear, Bear Bear and Red Bear in the above picture, but in his bed are Spare Bear (same as Bear Bear), Red Bear Two, moon bear, tatty princess, blue bear and music bear).


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