Juggling act

I’m no circus performer but any parent will be an expert at juggling. Raising kids, running a house, working, a social life and ‘me’ time. Oh and then there’s the washing, this is actually a part time job in itself – where on earth does it all come from?!

Unfortunately planning a social life and ‘me’ time tends to be put to the bottom of the pile. Who has time to plan a social life and as for ‘me’ time well that’s normally 9pm to 10pm catching up on the days events on facebook or maybe a bit of TV.

I love my job and I love my kids but juggling the two and ‘life’ can and does have it challenges, particularly when the two cross over as it did for me just before Christmas.

Picture the scene….I’m wandering around the lake on my day off from work with my lovely friend, her two boys, my two boys and her dog. The boys were running, enjoying the freedom and the dog was joining in the fun.

The dog then spotted a rubber ball in the stream that somebody had left there.  One of the boys grabbed it out of the stream and started throwing the ball for the very excited dog. There were lots of giggles and shouting…cue my mobile ringing…a work call. I quickly say to my friend ‘it’s a work call, I just need to get this’.

I’m chatting to my colleague, the giggling and shouting still around me. Without warning, I suddenly have this hard bang to the back of my head! Mops had thrown the ball for the dog and it had hit me on the head….really hard….in fact it was eye wateringly hard. In a stunned state I calmly let my colleague know that I have been hit on the head by a ball, just to cover for my short delay in responding. In normal circumstances I would have let out a little bit of a scream or an ouch but something inside me allows me to remain professional or may be I was still in a stunned state!

My friend at this point is chuckling away…but I’m determined, I can remain professional. I complete the call. We both have a chuckle…..my hair is dishevelled, with a splattering of mud and stream water – a small reminder of how glamorous motherhood can be!

So keeping all of the juggling balls of life in the air has its challenges but its ok if we drop one every now and then…well as long as it doesn’t whack you on the back of the head!

This post is dedicated to my lovely, lovely, friend – thanks for always being there xxx

New year’s resolutions!

Happy new year… I’m sure I’m not the only one that is feeling tired today.  After a night of partying with friends and the kids it’s feels like it’s the longest day EVER. A fab night was had by all but I’m now sitting here wishing the kids bedtime to hurry up so I can go to bed too. We’re nearly there, aren’t we?

New year is always a time for reflection and a time to think about plans for the future. I don’t make new year’s resolutions as such but I do try to think of a few things that I’d like to achieve.  This year I am kicking the year off with a half marathon on the 22nd January. I also have plans to travel. Unfortunately not travelling around the world for weeks on end but at least a visit to a place that I have always wanted to go to rather than the cheapest package deal we can find in the outrageously expensive school holidays.

Out of interest I asked my boys about their new year’s resolutions. Bam’s response was to eat more chocolate. Good call Bam, life’s definitely better with chocolate. I did have a chuckle that while most people in the world are making promises to eat less, his is to eat more! He then followed up with ‘and I want to help people, more than I already do’. That’s my boy, he has a very kind heart.

Mops’ new year’s resolution is to go to more water parks (random!) and to have more money. Apparently he wants ‘better stuff’. I wonder what ‘better stuff’ means to a five year old?

Whether you make new years resolutions or not, I wish you all a very happy and healthy 2017! Is it bedtime yet…..zzzzzz!

Christmas: from a Mum’s perspective

At the end of November my family gave to me…a few days of internet searching for Black Friday deals for thee!

At the beginning of December my family gave to me….A few evenings of card writing glee!

On the 2nd week of December my family gave to me…A minor panic as I realised the Christmas Supermarket delivery slots were no longer free!

Also on the 2nd week of December my family gave to me….A Mums nights out or maybe three!

Also on the 2nd week of December my family gave to me….a nativity concert, a reindeer run and a carol concert to see!

Also on the 2nd week of December my family gave to me….decoration (firstly by the kids, then Mummy) of the Christmas tree!

On the 3rd week of December my family gave to me….Wrapping (what feels like) hundreds of presents for all of my family to receive!

Also on the 3rd week of December my family gave to me….A stinking cold for thee!

On the 25th December my family gave to me….children smiling, laughing and squealing with delight – what every Mum wants to see!

Now please somebody bring me a large cup of tea!!

Life in the fast lane…

I’ve been reflecting recently on the family life that Mops, my youngest boy, is part of. Life is very chaotic, loud and active. For him life has always been like that so I wonder if he actually realises his life might be ever so slightly different to his friends in the classroom?

He knows all about Bam’s conditions and how they affect him. He’s very open about them and will chat to his friends about it. He’s adapts brilliantly to life with Bam. He’s so patient, much more patient than anybody else living in our household! Even if he has to ask the same question to Bam five times over, he’ll do it and persevere. I wonder if that’s because he knows he needs to be patient or because that’s his normal.

I often wonder that as Mops gets older, he’ll begin to realise how he adapts to living with a brother with ADHD and epilepsy. Does he enjoy charging around all of the time with his brother, climbing trees, scooting, generally living life in the fast lane or is he wondering about the next time he’ll get to sit and relax? I suspect it’s probably a little bit of both!

This weekend I took Mops out for some lunch, just him and I. So as we sat in Subway munching on our sandwich creations we chatted about school, play, friends etc. It was as we were walking through town I asked Mops if he had enjoyed his lunch. His reply was very simple but very powerful ‘Yes Mum, I have, it’s been very relaxing!’ So he does like a bit of down time, just to sit, just to chill, just to be able to eat a sandwich rather than gulp it down.

He’s still very young (5) but I wonder how he’ll handle family life in the future. I have a feeling he’ll adapt, just as he always has. Love you Mops for everything you do and I know Bam does too.

Christmas comes early!

Christmas causes excitement in every house. In our house, it means Bam’s ADHD is heightened. He has even more energy and is extra, extra bouncy!

So I know I need to be prepared. Do I really need to prepare for it in October though? Sadly, it would appear that I do!

Following a family stroll at the weekend we took the boys for a drink and cake at our local garden centre. We took a stroll around the centre afterwards. Hubby and Mops ventured off to the toilet leaving Bam and I looking at the fish.

It was then that he started bouncing around like an excited puppy. ‘Mum, Mum, there’s Christmas stuff in there! I can see a light twinkling’ I was totally unprepared for this, we have only just entered Autumn – Christmas had only been a fleeting thought in my mind, nothing more.  Noooo, it can’t be, it’s the 1st October! Noooooo!

Sure enough, I glanced into the shop to see the smallest twinkling light shining through the corner of a window. The boy’s Christmas radar was on fire!!

‘Come on Mum, let’s go and have a look?’ Before I had a chance to reply, he was gone in a flash, full of energy and squeals!

As I ran through the sliding doors in an attempt to catch up with him I could see he was right….indeed the shop was full of Santa, Rudolph, snowmen etc, all staring at me with a smug cheery smile.

Bam was running through the shop, cuddling big polar bears, picking up Santas and diving into an igloo full of yet more Santas and more snowmen. All the time with a beaming smile from ear to ear!

Uh oh, Christmas 2016 here we come…in October!

Any tips on  managing the excitement over the Christmas period? All tips gratefully received!

Change of heart

Recently Bam made a big decision…he decided to tell his class about his epilepsy. Previously he was adamant that he didn’t want his friends to know, he didn’t want people to think he was different. (see earlier blog post)

So why the change of heart? I think it was down to our attendance at the Young Epilepsy Awards in London earlier in the year. It was here that he realised that he wasn’t the only one with epilepsy,  everyone at the awards had epilepsy just like him and they were celebrating their achievements.

He was so inspired he decided to organise an assembly at school to tell everybody about epilepsy and how it affects people.

So off he went to school, armed with statistics and information on the different seizures. He spoke to his Teaching Assistant who in turn spoke to the Head Teacher. They welcomed the idea and booked him in for his assembly!

He was so excited! He spent lots of time thinking and planning the powerpoint presentation that he was going to build ready for his talk.

When the day came for him to run his assembly, he went into school cool and calm. I could see that he was very self assured, I knew this was the right thing for him to do.

He proudly spoke to the class and then answered any questions at the end. When one child asked ‘Does epilepsy stop you from doing things?’ His reply was ‘No, I’m no different to anybody else!’

Wow, Bam, I’m oozing with pride – you never cease to amaze me young man! Well done for sharing your experiences and raising awareness of epilepsy among young people.

And life since the assembly?  His classmates treat him exactly the same as they did before, nothing’s changed but if he (or another child)  does have a seizure at school then they will understand how to help.  (Which makes me feel much happier!)

 

A night on a tiny island!

I’m not really a camper. Don’t get me wrong I absolutely love being outdoors but I like to go home to my bed in the evening.

I have only been camping once as a girl guide. This experience ended with me waking up in the morning to find myself outside the tent in the middle of a very wet field. Unfortunately, I was sleeping by the tent door, there were six girls in the tent and when one rolled over we all rolled and I fell out! Quite funny when I look back now but at the time I told my Mum I would never ever go camping again! (dramatic, I know!)

And I haven’t been camping again..until this weekend. You can imagine my Mum’s amusement when my boys told her we were off camping on Brownsea Island!

Brownsea Island has been on my list of places to visit for quite a while now. The island is largely owned by the National Trust. As National Trust members, I’m often looking at their website to plan our next adventure. Brownsea Island promises beauty, peace and fun. The island is small, about two-thirds of a mile by 1 and half miles. There are no cars or shops on the island apart from the National Trust shop and cafe, which both close at 5pm.

With no plans for the Summer Bank Holiday, I thought I’d check out Brownsea Island. Whilst browsing the website I spotted an advert inviting families to camp on the island- tent and cooking facilities provided! So only sleeping bags, clothes and crockery needed! Sounds simple enough? Hmm, a night on an island…sounded like an opportunity not to be missed, so we signed up!

With everybody loaded up with a bag full of stuff, we headed off on our adventure! As soon as we set foot on the island I was immediately struck by its beauty.  As we walked from the ferry port to the campsite on the other side of the island (without the bags, the lovely National Trust staff transported them to the campsite for us!)  it became apparent that this was indeed a very special island. An island steeped in history, bursting with beauty and an amazing amount of different wildlife. We spotted the famous Brownsea red squirrels, deer and peacocks. There were lots of other birds too but my boys make far too much noise and move far too quickly for us to be in with a chance of spotting any!

We arrived at the campsite, erected our tent and got out the burgers!! There’s something magical about being on the island after it closes. Although I have to admit I was slightly nervous about being on an island with no way of being able to get off apart from a very chilly swim!

It was a lovely warm evening so we  took the boys to the beach while we sipped on a glass of wine and watched the sun go down and the stars begin to sparkle! A perfect,relaxing evening!

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Thank you, National Trust for giving us access to this beautiful island and for helping our family to have a truly memorable time!

Oh and the night in the tent, well it was ok – I don’t think I’ll become a seasoned camper but I would do the odd night here and there!