Flamingoland 2010


We all had a fantastic day out at Flamingoland last week for Mini's birthday.  I used my Tesco vouchers, but was really disappointed to discover that this arrangement ends in July, which would mean that it would be £90.00 to get in to.




The beauty of Flamingoland for us, is the variety, there are some wonderful animals.  We had a great time watching the sealion show and I could watch the mearcats all day.  Look at the camels in the photo, I had no idea that they moulted their coats.



As we took the boys out of school for the day (we also took Maxi's best friend), it was pretty quiet, apart from lots of school trips.  This meant the boys got to go on lots of rides and didn't have to queue.  Mini has sprouted and could go on everything that Maxi could, which made for happy families.



There is also a fantastic splash area, so we took the boys UV suits and they had a really good cool down for an hour and half in it.  It was really upsetting to see the number of children who are not allowed to get wet.

The weather was fantastic and we had a great picnic lunch under the shade of some trees, in fact we just had a wonderful time together.

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Childrens Craft Showcase – Gifts for the Teacher

The end of the school year is very nearly upon us here in England, so I have started to think about teacher appreciation gifts for MaxiMads wonderful Reception teacher and her assistance and for Mini's Preschool Teacher.


I am a firm believer in child made is best, I don't want my gifts to be expensive, just used and made with love.

So I have a selection of things that we have made previously for people that would make great gifts to say thank you to a teacher.  



This is what Maxi made for his teachers last year and will be doing again for his current teacher.  Click on the link above for a tutorial.



We gave all the teaching staff these for Christmas and they were a huge hit.



Mini has drawn a picture of his teacher and I am busy turning it into a wonderful bookmark.



This was what we did for mothers day, but would also make a great teachers gift too.



 We made these for Nana and Grandma for Christmas, but would be easily adapted.

Please fee free to link up any other ideas you might have or any crafty makes you have been busy with.

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    A Family of Emotions

    Mini just can not control them, they are so visual, so transparent.  It is like looking at me.

    I see burning red and hot orange embers.  The lava flow that just erupts before he has a chance to think about anything else.  He has no hold on them, no way to stop acting on the impulses they give him.  He has no perspective, no patience, no understanding of them.

    He physically reacts, throwing, hitting, shouting, screaming, banging and crying.

    He feels them in his heart, head and fists.  

    To the point of exhaustion.


    Maxi is comtenplative, a real thinker, he is learning to harness his emotions and to keep them in check.

    He is brave and often his lower lip will tremble, when he skuffs his kness, just a little, enough for me to see.

    When he is tired, then the emotions bubble to the surface.  I watch as he attemps to supress them, holding his breathm until they have to come out.

    But his joy, wonder and amazement are still there for all to see.


    MadDad is a happy man, a mellow fellow who lives his life with joy on his face and in his heart.  He is laidback and tolerent of nearly everything.  In all our time together I have only ever seen him angry on a few occaasions.  He always tells me that anger is such an unproductive emotion, that it doesnt solve anything, so he has learned to let it flow out of him.

    He is a protective man and you can see how much he loves his family on his face, he is not afriad to show his emotions and he sets a wonderful example to the boys.


    So that just leaves me, I for far too long have found that the dark emotions have been the ones that are the strongest, but I no longer allow them to take over my life.  I have learned to make the most of everything.  To look to the best in people and things.  To see the joy in the small things in life.



    I am also taking part in The Frugal Families Welcome Wednesday




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    A Birthday with The Wiggles


    Mini had a fab time opening his presents this morning.  This year is really the first year that he has understood what is happening and has been counting down his birthday since his cousins on May 31st!  He was almost too excited to get to sleep the night before!

    The joy on his face for his presents was wonderful, we got him a scooter and an Uno game, but his best present so far has been his Star Wars the Clone Wars Clone Trooper Outfit from Gran.

    Now the thing is my boy adores The Wiggles.  I have my mother in law to thank for it, as she was the one who introduced the boys to them and for some reason with Mini they really did just stick in his brain.

    We took him to see the live last year and seen as they were live in York on his actually birthday this year, we really didn't have much of an option.
    So this week we have made a bone for Wags the dog and also paper roses for Dorothy (a post on the roses to follow).  



    We set off early Thursday morning and Mini and Maxi were very excited to see them. What can I say, they had a blast and because they had a blast, so did we.  We have Ernest staying with us at the moment and he enjoyed The Wiggles too.



    Although I think that Ernest's Bad boy ways must be rubbing off on Mini, as he threw his drinks carton into the crowd, yes it was empty, but I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me whole.  I was mortified.  So if you were the mum of the little boy it hit - I am sorry and I hope the blackcurrant stains come out.



    We then went to Pizza Express for a treat (thanks to Tesco Vouchers) and mini spent his birthday money on a wii game.


    We also went to see one of MadDad's clients Shakeaholics and the boys had a wonderful Milkshake each.



    Maxi chose a smarties one


    Mini a fresh strawberry one.


    It is such a cool shop, they can make a shake that tastes of anything, MadDad had a Reece's peanut cups one and it was just wonderful.


    And yes, we did buy the boys a tour t shirt each!  York was such a wonderful day out.



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    Spiritual Sunday – Grateful


    I am grateful for my wonderful boys, who came with me to the car boot sale and really behaved in this heat (yes I really am that pale).

    We are grateful for cool paddling pools in hot weather.

    We are grateful for plentiful elderflowers and have made yummy cordial.


    My beautiful rambling rose, which is full of buds and flowers, the whole of the bottom of our garden (and next doors) is filled with wonderful scent.


    The fragrant honeysuckle which has cover the boys playhouse from next doors garden.

    What are you grateful for this Sunday?




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    Tell us your story – A street to school campign

    I have been asked to help publicise the "Tell Us Your Story" campaign, which is a fantastic opportunity to recognise and reward people who you feel have really made a difference to someone or a community over the past year.  Entries are submitted online at http://www.avivatellusyourstory.co.uk/

    Launched by Aviva, for every entry they will donate £1 to the Street to School Programme - a global initiative with the aim of reaching 500,000 children worldwide, helping them get off the streets and back into education.

    A weekly prize of £1000 will also be awarded to the local hero that captures the hearts of visitors to the site and receives the most votes. One overall winner will be chosen by a celebrity judging panel for a prize worth £10,000.

    AVIVA Tell Us A Story Large

    Not only is this a great way to recognise someone who has made a difference, but by nominating someone you will be making a difference in a child's life to.

     Did you know....

    • 100,000 children under the age of sixteen run away from home every year in the UK
    • 1 in 12 young runaways are hurt or harmed while they are away
    • There are now only 5 refuge beds for runaway children in the whole of the UK
    • 1 in 6 young runaways sleep rough
     As a mum those facts are hard to swallow.
     
    This is not a sponsored post


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      Four

      There are four seasons, Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter
      There are four great elements, earth, water, wind and fire
      A human heart has four chambers
      The forth finger is also known as a ring finger
      There are four basic states of matter: solid, liquid, gas, and plasma.
      There are four human bllod groups
      Cancer is the 4th astrological sign of the Zodiac
      Tetra the Greek word for 4
      four is the only number with the same number of letters as its value  
      common time is constructed of four beats
      There are 4 movements in a symphony
      Four rules: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division.
      Four parts of a day: night, morning, afternoon, evening.
      Four cardinal directions: north, south, east, west.


      Last night Mini went to bed as a three year old
      Today he woke as a Four year old

      I see much more of myself in you than in Maxi and I know that you are learning to control your temper and emotions and hope that it can continue to develop and you learn to harness the feelings inside.
      Sometimes I am filled with the fear that you will always do things the hard way and wish you could learn from my experiences.
      You couldn't be more loved.
      You have developed my love of books and listening to you read is one of my favorite times of the day.
      You are both a mummy's boy and a dads lad.  The perfect blend.
      You are independent to a fault, but you love with out compare.
      You make me swing with you and skip, hop and jump.
      We watch the clouds and give them names.
      We sign songs making up the words as we go along.
      I am your kiss and cuddle express.

      Who is Mini?
      The baby of the family in years, but not in size
      Larger than life, you fill a room with your deep laughter
      A great force of energy
      A body that has to succumb to his emotions
      People adore mini, he has a way to endear himself to everyone
      He is cheeky with a twinkle in his eyes
      A boy with words from an early age
      A ferocious reader
      Affectionate to a fault with cuddles for all, but especially for me
      He sings from his heart and has music in his soul
      His imagination knows no bounds
      A loyal brother
      An observer
      A wonderful son

      Each day I am blessed to see you grow, develop and learn.  You will me with optimism and joy and have a way of making even the sternest person smile.  You have a gift of innocence.  I will hold you tight forever.



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      The Gallery – Creatures of South Africa

      Once upton a time long, long ago, in fact 3 years BC (before children) MadDad and I visited and stayed with friends in South Africa.  We spent some wonderful time in what is a glorious country and The World Cup really reminds me of the special time we spent there.  So for this weeks Gallery I present to you some of the creatures we saw on our fab holiday.



      The Penguins on Boulders Beach - oh they were cute, but the smell - ugh





      They were such characters, we spent hours watching them




      Majestic Lions


      Bab Cheetahs


      Yes, that is me with two white baby Bengal tigers


       Mama and other female elephants protecting a 2 day old foal


      Big birds!


      Big Mouths!


      If you loo closely, a big splash from the whales we spent the day watching.  We could have stayed for a month and still not want to go home.


      One day, we will go back and take the MiniMads with us.  One day...............


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      Mini The early weeks

      As I said in this post, MadDad took care of all of us for the first week of Mini's life and he was such a happy baby.  He fed well, burped like a dream or should that be a builder and went back to sleep really well after a feed.  He fitting us like a soft glove.

      But the peace wasn't to last.  MadDad had commented that Mini wasn't pooing.  The midwife told him it was because he was being bottle fed and suggested we change his formula to a comfort one, which he told her we were already using (after Maxi's colic we made sure we had every angle covered).  She then suggested that he give additional water, as it was a hot summer.  We decided to mention this to the GP when she next came out to me.

      She agreed that this wasn't normal and that he needed to be seen by a pediatrician and went about referring him.  The next day Mini started to vomit, it was not the standard little bit of sick after a feed, it was all his food and it was projectile and it was after each feed, so I rang the GP and she suggested that I take him straight to the hospital and she would ring and tell them to expect us.



      We were admitted to the children's assessment unit and they agreed that he was getting dehydrated and they wanted him to stay overnight, but before putting in a drip they wanted to try and feed him again.  The staff were amazing, I explained that he hadn't pooped and the nurse told me to take the bed and they popped Mini in a cot next to the bed.  He was not happy at all, he was pulling up his legs and screaming and I couldn't comfort him.  So the sister decided to take him to a walk with her and told me to go to sleep.  I woke up at 6am the next day in a real pickle as Mini wasn't in his cot and within a minute the sister brought him to  me, but he was in just a nappy and she was in scrubs.  It turns out the mini screamed for 2 hours until he poos out his body weight, all over the poor sister.  not only did it come out of his nappy, but it went though all her uniform and underwear.  



      He went from a screaming child to the placid baby we knew after that.  The consultant examined Mini and discovered that he had a tiny bum hole, but they were also concerned that he had other issues too.  So we were referred to a specialist at Newcastle.

      3 days later MadDad and I took Mini to meet his new surgeon and to discuss the options.  As he hadn't pooed since the incident in the hospital it was decided that he needed to have urgent surgery and it was scheduled for the following day, so we went home to pack a bag and make all the necessary arrangements.  I was terrified by baby needed to have a general anesthetic and he was under 3 weeks old.  

      We were not allowed to feed Mini for 12 hours before the operation, so we set off to the hospital.  I felt terrible, why was my baby suffering in this way?  We were taken to our room.  There was a double bed for me and MadDad and a bot, bath, changing table etc for Mini.  It only really hit home when we were asked to bath him and pop him in to a gown.

      Our fantastic surgeon came in and tried to calm me down and decided that before the operation she was going to have another quick examination and use a special implement to measure mini's anus and have a quick probe.  As she was doing this we all heard a strange tearing sound and mini suddenly stopped crying.  The doctor removed the probe and then whoose, out cam the poo, which was like water as he had been taking lactulose to try and help him poo.  He lost 4oz in weight in less that 5 minutes and we agreed that we would postpone the surgery for a week and that I would use a shorter probe and medication (lactulose and suppositories) to see if it made a difference.

      Mini just minutes before the surgeon came in

      That week turned in to six months, but it meant that he didn't need an operation and I am glad to say that he no longer needs medication and our months of carrying 5 changes of outfits were all worth it.
      Maxi is fine, he bowels are fine and you would never know that he went though this.  It confirmed to me that Mum and Dad always know best and we learned to trust our instinct implicitly.

      He was a joyous baby, a pleasure to be with and the easiest baby in the world.


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      Getting Mini – Part Two The Birth

      You can find part one here........ so now on to the next part of the saga.  Now just like I did with Maxi's birth story I want to preface this too.  
      Yes getting and giving birth to both my children was traumatic and more so that these stories can ever tell.  But you need to know that I would do it all again in a heartbeat.  They are so worth it.  They are wonderful boys, no more precious than any children and just because their births etc were difficult doesn't mean that they are more precious than any other child.  Every child is precious, every child is a wonder in their own right, but to me mine are just indescribably incredible.  I have said before that neither of the boys are aware of how hard their births were and they will not know if I have my way, not until they ask. 
      One of the reasons for writing this, is each year it seems less real, more of a fairy tale, somehow I am afraid I will lose it all together if I dont write it down somewhere.
      May 2006 was warm and June was proving to be warmer still,  Maxi and I took each day as it come, resting, relaxing and playing.  MadDad often arrived home to find us both asleep cuddled up on the sofa and ended his days cooking and looking after the two of us.
      My vomiting had stepped up a pace and I was finding it very hard to keep hydrated and I had keytones in my urine and I knew it was getting worse, as my breath smelled of nail varnish remover (strange, but true) and also the movement of mini had reduced (I as 36 weeks) pregnant, so I agree with the midwife over the telephone that I would make my way to the day unit to be monitored for a few hours.  I wasn't worried, I Dropped Maxi at my Mother in laws, I didn't take a bag and was singing alone to Snow Patrol in the car on the way.
      When I got to the unit, they found Mini's heartbeat straight away, which was very comforting, but they struggled to take blood (15 attempts) and I had protein and major keytones in my urine.  They suggested I gave MadDad a call and suggested that I went on to a drip immediately to help rehydrate me, which mean more attempts at trying to find a vein.
      Anyway when my bloods came back they made the decision that I needed to be admitted and also see the consultant immediately, as the results were not great at all.  The vomiting had gone from 5 times a day, to constant and I was also bringing up fresh blood.  So MadDad packed me a bag and came in.
      The Consultant made it clear that we needed to get mini out, but he wanted to try and wait until 37 weeks and we decided that I would have steroids to help mature his lungs and I was to remain in the hospital where they would try and control my nausea.  The following week is not one I wish to go in to in detail, suffice to say, the nausea didn't stop, I was very ill, I discharged myself against doctors orders and physiatrists got involved and the final outcome was that I agreed to a scheduled c-section for the 24 June at 1pm.  SO lets fast forward to that time.
      I have to say that the scheduled section was a much better experience than the crash section I experienced with Maxi.  It was more relaxed and I didn't panic about vomiting, as I knew they would be there suctioning it for me.  It was as pleasant as it could be and by darling mini was born at 37 weeks gestation weighing a very respectable 6lb 12oz with a head of dark hair.  They didn't drop my placenta like they did with Maxi, but it did go off to pathology for tests (as I had previously had a hydatidiform mole pregnancy).
       
      I was still vomiting, with Maxi it stopped the minute he was born, but I still felt terrible.  I was left in recovery with mini laid flat despite asking to be sat up and without a drink for in excess of four hours and then only moved after MadDad put his foot down.  They were reticent about removing the catheter or even getting me standing, which was very odd, as with Maxi I was encouraged to be as mobile as I could be as soon as I could be.
      I couldn't wait to get out of hospital, as I was in a private room all on my own with a newborn and I was vomiting every hour, so we agreed that I could go home the following day.
       
      MadDad was wonderful,  Maxi was missing me and overnight went from my little baby to a toddler.  He adored his new brother and him and MadDad looked after mini for a week, whilst I was bedridden and visited by our GP 3 times a day.  It wasn't the best recover as I wasn't allowed any other pain relief apart from paracetamol suppositories due to the blood results and the nausea  (I couldn't keep anything down), but slowly things got easier.  Mini sleep in a cot next to the bed, initially next to MadDad.
      My three boys bonded, they spent a wonderful hot week watching the world cup and learning each others likes and dislikes whilst I recovered best I could upstairs.
      I was lucky in that I got all the support and help I needed from the hospital, but if you feel medical negligence might be involved in your birth then get in touch with irwin mitchell
         
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