Sunday, 15 January 2012

New starts

It has been extremely busy around here recently: what with various birthdays, Christmas, new kitchen, work being hectic as usual etc, but I think I'm finally starting to get on top of things.

My one new year's resolution this year (I don't usually make them, but felt an overwhelming urge this year) is to be more organised. If I can organise myself and my time more efficiently then I have a feeling that all the other things I would like to achieve in my life (weight loss, more crafting time, more blogging time, more quality time with husband, regular swimming with boys etc) will become much easier.

So, I have armed myself with not one but two diaries, a family calendar and a commitment to stop putting off jobs that need to be done!

I feel better for it already, and I have definitely got my craft mojo back. It has been lost for a while - there has just been that vague lingering guilt that I should be doing something crafty. But I am feeling inspired again at last and can't wait to get stuck in.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Lost but never forgotten

The popular parenting forum Mumsnet are running a Better Miscarriage Care Campaign this week.

The aims being to increase awareness of miscarriage – sadly, it happens to many, many women every single day and is still very much a taboo topic – and to campaign for improvements in the miscarriage care that women receive in the UK.

As a Mumsnet Blogger I was more than happy to write about my experience to support the campaign. I touched on our year from hell here, but as the year anniversary of our first loss is approaching, it seems fitting (and maybe healing) to write it all down somewhere.

Its one of those things that you think is never going to happen to you.
Especially after having had two trouble-free pregnancies and two healthy baby boys.
I had a feeling from about 17 weeks that something wasn’t right with my third pregnancy. I remember waking up one morning and feeling not-quite-right – not-quite-pregnant anymore. But my bump seemed to be growing, I was still feeling a little sick and I had no reason to think that anything had gone wrong.

One morning in October (at 20 weeks) I woke up with vague cramps, I put it down to stretching pain and carried on with my day. It was only when the pains continued and worsened that I decided to phone the Early Pregnancy Unit for advice.
I was told it was all normal and to take a paracetomol.
The pains increased and after the worst night of my life – I knew something was wrong, but didn’t know what to do whilst my family slept soundly around me, screaming silently is how I remember it now – I managed to speak to a midwife who took me seriously and told me to come into the Labour Ward. The rest of that day is a blur. I was examined and scanned, to be told that my baby had no heartbeat. The memory still makes me feel sick – I remember the sonographer’s exact words – ‘I’m afraid there’s no little heartbeat there today’ and the lovely midwife who stayed in the scan room with me (my husband was at home with our boys, not thinking that there was anything seriously wrong.)
Looking back, I can’t believe how calm I was – I suppose I had to be.
At 4pmish that same day I delivered our little boy – although we didn’t know he was a little boy at the time. We had decided not to see or hold him – and although I know it was the right thing for us at the time, it still haunts me to this day. We have his tiny hand and footprints.
We have never found out we lost our little boy – and its likely that we never will.
That’s hard to deal with.

Bootie I crocheted for the first baby we never got to meet - I never got round to making the second one. It will always be his.

Even though at 20 weeks I had to give birth to our baby, it is still classed as a miscarriage. If it had happened 3.5 weeks later then it would be called a still-birth - his birth and death would have been registered and I would have been entitled to maternity leave.

I’ve since gone on to have two more miscarriages – both early thankfully, and we are still no closer to finding out what may be causing them.
The theory seems to be that it is just ‘bad luck’. I accepted that after the first, and even after the second, but after the third I am no longer willing to accept that as an explanation.

I’m lucky in that the majority of the care I’ve received over the last year has been good. I can’t fault the care we received in hospital whilst giving birth to our boy. The midwife and consultant were compassionate and reassuring, and treated us with respect and sincerity.
The only blip was when we heard the lady in the room next door to us give birth to a healthy, squalling baby.
The care I’ve received since then has been satisfactory. I do feel that I am having to manage my own care to a certain extent – researching possible problems and pushing for certain tests and a referral to a specialist. There seems to be a lack of research into the causes of miscarriage in this country, particularly late losses. You only have to look at the number of high-profile celebrity cases that have occurred recently to realize that it happens more than we think, and a cause is rarely found.

Miscarriage changes you. I can’t imagine ever enjoying a pregnancy again, I constantly think there is something physically wrong with me and I’m not as carefree as I used to be. But I am feeling stronger everyday and I know one day in the not to distant future I will be ready to put myself in that position again.

I apologise for the mammoth post – and thank-you for sticking with it if you got this far.

I will be back later in the week with a guest poster who will be telling us about her experience.
You can also click on the thumbnails below to hop to some more bloggers involved in the campaign.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

The Idea Jar (& free download)

My boys love to draw - and one of them loves to colour in too (the other one doesn't!). My littlest boy tends to draw the same things over and over again (currently, a house with balloons in the chimney - from the film Up) whilst my biggest boy spends 20 minutes deciding what he's going to draw before he gets down it. The scope of possible things to draw is so infinitely wide that sometimes it helps to narrow it down, so I came up with the Idea Jar.
I cut up some strips of card and wrote an idea for a drawing on each card, mixed them all up, and put them in a jar. Our usual rule is that they have to stick with the one they pick first, but if I'm feeling kind I let them pick twice and choose their favourite.

I've been playing around with some graphic packages (more about that later) and have created two pdf files with some of the ideas we use. The files are free and can be downloaded below.
All you need to do is print, cut and find a jar/container to put them in.
All I ask is that you come back and let me know what you think of them and more importantly what the kids think of them! Happy drawing .........

Ideas 1 pdf file
Ideas 2 pdf file

Friday, 7 October 2011

Friday Finds 02

Today has been a good day.
My littlest boy has been really struggling with his spellings since he started Year 1 - to the point where I was on the verge of talking to his teachers about it. But today, despite the fact that we only practised them twice and then once again rather hurriedly on the way to school, he got ten out of ten! And they were not easy words : were, then and little amongst them.
I was so happy - and he was pleased as punch. It just seems to have clicked all of a sudden - and its so lovely to be a part of. He is growing up before my very eyes.

So its Friday finds time again .....

This throw would look perfect in our living-room - so pretty

Love, love, love this cardi

This is so lovely - great colours

Its getting to that time of year again - I'm determined to make something along these lines this year

My boys would love to eat off of this

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Dressing-up chest (part two)

I talked about the dressing-up chest we put together for my sons 5th birthday a few weeks ago.
I wanted to share some of the items I found to put in the box.
One of my favourites is the black cloak in the pictures below.
It is second-hand but homemade and I found it on ebay for a snip.
I love that it is so versatile - perfect for Darth Vader, as seen (rather menacingly) below.
Or Lord Voldemort, or Harry Potter, or Merlin, or Gandalf etc ........
My littlest does seem to be drawn towards the baddies - hmmmmmm, should I be worried?

Friday, 30 September 2011

Friday Finds 01

Well, I've got a stinking cold that has had me laid up in bed for the last two days. Feeling slightly more human again today - which is good, as Friday is always a busy day here.
I've decided to start a new regular slot on here called Friday Finds.
The aim being to share some of the cool and inspiring things that I stumble across on the internet.
Because I like some structure in my life (and to stop me getting carried away!)- my Friday finds every week will include: an item for the house, an inspiring tutorial, a print that I love, an item of clothing and something for the kids. So here goes .....

  • Love these retro floor lamps - I'm coveting the red one for our cellar when its done.
  • Sleepover pillowcase tutorial - what a good idea.
  • Love this print - again think it would be perfect in the reading corner of our cellar.
  • How sweet are these dresses - especially the one on the right. From the US unfortunately.
  • We are changing the way we do the kids lunchboxes in this house after finding this blog.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Dressing-up chest (part one)

Our youngest son was five a few weeks ago. Having two boys, less than two years apart, means its getting harder and harder to think of birthday presents for them.

My little one loves dressing up and acting in character, so I decided to fill up a toy-box full of dressing up clothes for him. I scoured ebay and charity shops for second-hand bargains, mixed them with a few new things and some props - and hey-presto - an original birthday present that will keep him and his brother entertained for many years to come.

As I was using a plain white toy chest that we already had - I decided that I need to decorate it, in some way to make it look a bit more special.

I had some A4 wallpaper samples that I ordered a while ago with another project in mind, and decided this was the perfect opportunity to put them to good use.

I cut each A4 page into six (roughly) equal rectangles, and arranged them in a pattern on the top of the chest.

I then glued them down with PVA glue mixed with a little water. Once dry, I covered them with a coat of matt varnish and left it to dry again. I then repeated this three times.

The matt varnish on top of the paper gives a lovely smooth feel and also protects it against the batterings/spilt coffee/juice/goodness knows what else, it is destined to receive.