Monday, 4 November 2013

30 Days of Thankful: Day 4

Day 4: Location, Location, Location!

Ryan and I took a walk down by the Fens Pools this afternoon and it was absolutely gorgeous! The horses were down by the water's edge and one even came up to have a nosey around us and get some fuss off me. Ryan was loving it! He thinks he called the horse he's some sort of horse whisperer or something.

In fact, he was loving things SO much, I was able to get photographic evidence of the joyous leaps he made over horse poo as we walked leisurely down the path. He was in absolute kid heaven!

So today, with a rainbow appearing at the end of our journey down at the pools, I am thankful for the area where we live and so happy we chose this to be our home. Living across from a nature reserve is truly the coolest and I'm so glad this is an experience and a memory my children will get to hold onto forever!

Sunday, 3 November 2013

30 Days of Thankful: Day 3

Day 3: My Son

Yes. As if there was any doubt...this little bundle of energy and excitement and the absolute light of my life is my day 3!

He's coming up for four soon and I cannot think of a day where he isn't the first thing on my mind. Then again, when one wakes up to the mouth of their pre-schooler over their own eyeball, trying to fog up their glasses with their's kind of difficult to not notice.

Ryan is the cheekiest most joyful little boy I know and while I'd love for him to tone it down at the moment (being so overly pregnant, myself, and short on patience) I don't ever want him to lose this spirit and fire in his belly. There isn't a day that goes by where he doesn't make my entire heart smile and just before I snapped this very photo, which he requested, he cuddled up next to me sweetly to say, "Mommy, you're so lovely."

Melts my very heart and every reason why today I give thanks for our one and only, Ry Guy!!

Saturday, 2 November 2013

30 Days of Thankful: Day 1 & 2

I see many friends doing this on Facebook and year after year I think, 'Oh, that's a nice idea,' and then I never take it on. This year I have decided to give it a go, however, I am already two days behind.

So, let's get started...shall we?

Day 1: My Daughter

I am thankful for this little blessing in my belly. I want her out and in my arms so SO bad, but the bright side to everything is that I learned today that she is doing well and thriving still and her health is of highest importance to me.

I am overdue by 9 days and was informed she has NO intentions of making an appearance at least in the next 3! I'm going to have to be monitored now, daily, but won't be forced to undergo an induction unless she is in distress, so I could go as far as next Saturday!!

The day I will finally hold her against my skin, smell that baby smell and kiss her sweet, baby face will be infinitely beautiful and so worth it...but until then, no matter how long, I give thanks for my daughter.

Day 2: My Husband

Today, I am thankful for my husband.

He has been sick as a dog the past 24 hours and, admittedly, I thought he was putting on a bit at the men do with their "man flu" reactions. But bless him to bits, when I break down and lose my head this man is here for me.

Still feeling a bit poorly, himself, after spending most of last night camped outside the bathroom, sprawled on the carpet and doubled up in stomach pains, he calmly sat with me this afternoon as I bawled my hormonal pregnant eyes out over my feelings of failure as a Mommy. Struggling with balancing the quality of time I'm spending with an over-zealous 3-year-old boy with selective hearing, the patience I have and have subsequently lost with said beautiful, but challenging, child and my inability to "turn it off" as my midwife instructed, so as to allow my body to just do what an overdue pregnant woman's body is meant to naturally do but cannot for some of the reasons above, I finally broke today and my Matthew was there.

My husband is no saint and neither am I, but today when I could not take another minute of putting on a brave face, I took my son to his room to carry out his time-out for not listening...again...and then gave myself a time-out in the bedroom, so to ensure I wasn't going down for 'harm to a minor.' Shortly after, I heard Matt come up the stairs and first tend to a whimpering Ryan who "didn't want to be upstairs." He, ever-so-calmly spoke to our son with compassion and understanding for his feelings while still pointing out there clearly had to be a reason and that after speaking to me he would come back.

My devoted then sat next to me on the bed and just listened as I sobbed it out and mumbled silly, unreasonable things like, "I'm going to be pregnant foreverrrrrrrrr!" He didn't even have to say anything...he just rubbed my back and kissed my shoulder and let me...let go.

I fully expected him to march straight back in to our son and give him the telling off of his life, but that's not quite how it went. I remember him staying with me long enough that my breathing started to calm and then he went back to Ryan to have a Daddy-Son heart-to-heart about how Mommy was feeling. I expected Ryan's reaction to this to be that it made him "sad" that Mommy was sad, but Matt turned it into a positive. He held up my consequence of taking Ryan to his room for his behaviour, but then also suggested they tidy up the room together since it was getting out of control.

I don't remember much after that as I drifted off and the next thing I remember, it was dark outside, dead quiet upstairs and the streetlamps were on. A few hours had passed.

I knew my husband still didn't feel 100%, but he also knew I desperately needed time alone, so without even questioning for a second, he gave it to me. I never doubt Matt's love for me, but I think today was a clear testament to it if I ever did.

Yesterday may have been our 5-year wedding anniversary...but it is today that I continue to give thanks and massive love and appreciation for my husband, Matt.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Blog-Resurrect: Circumcision & Its "Place" in Faceland?

I've been out of commission for a while until today when I debated whether or not to post this as an actual status on Facebook and have since decided it was a bit too long and I wanted to post how I felt on a more public forum because it's JUST how strongly I feel. First, know that I didn't know I would feel so strongly until I lived here in England and gave birth to a son. Had this been in America, I may have very well blindly followed "the norm" without a second thought. I'll forever be grateful for my circumstances that led me here.

It has been brought to my attention by a respected friend, whom I  have known a number of years, that some of my posts/re-posts regarding the issue of circumcision have been found by her to be offensive. I realise she, while well-meaning by sending me a private message, isn’t the only one and there are likely more who feel the same about what I post but they may not be as vocal. I have since responded to the person who PM'd me, but I have also let her know that I intended to make a blanket response as well. It is anyone’s right to voice that to me and while I apologise that they found offense in something I have posted, I will not apologise for posting it. So know this…

I'm not ‘publicly shaming’ anyone about the issue. I’m not running around posting names of people who have chosen to circumcise and saying they are awful people for the decision they have made. I believe people who make the choice to circumcise may do it because they truly believe it to be right from the myths that it is healthier, etc...but over 80% of the world is uncircumcised and America is one of the only nations remaining where it is still the norm. I don't think less of anyone for doing it, not one of my friends, but the reason I post the things I do is to bring awareness that it is not necessary as a routine procedure. Some of my fellow “intactivists” (as they are commonly known) may argue that it’s never medically necessary, but I will settle for “in most cases,” because I realise some use it as a “last resort” and I even know of people who have had to battle with this decision alone. What I post is no different than people posting pictures and links asking people to speak out against animal abuse or anything else they feel passionately about.  And if someone is finding a graphic picture (in my most recent post) to be “inappropriate” then perhaps you understand why I feel so vehemently about the procedure itself. We don’t do it to girls, so what is wrong with respecting our boys’ genital integrity?

I don’t post even HALF the links that come through my own news feed on the subject and have recently only posted two that I have found particularly compelling. One having to do with a threatened total amputation of a little boy due to the procedure and today, a link (about a hospital using circumcision as a means to run experiments on infant boys – TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE FULL STOP)  which was passed down to me by a friend who recently confided in me over her own struggle to know more as her eldest had been circumcised but she had a change of heart with her youngest now and wanted to know ways to help educate her husband and help him to see why she was so adamant to not have the procedure done again. In fact, in the post today I simply asked for people to take a look at the information and that if they felt compelled to do so, sign the petition and continue sharing. I do not make it my personal business to know whether your child/children or husbands are circumcised. I simply share the information I have for the benefit of others who may question the need for having it done and I have helped my friend to make this choice because of the information I have posted. She felt comfortable coming to me after hearing from others to simply just “do it”/”get it over with” without even questioning the true necessity. The fact remained, she WAS questioning it and it was leaving her mind and heart unsettled.

I hope that no one is so offended that they will chose to end their friendships with me over the issue, but I also respect that it is your choice, although it would sadden me. I know there are many who feel just as strongly about having the procedure done as I do about leaving the choice for my child for when he’s an adult to make and one has made it clear that she is happy to “agree to disagree” on the topic. Where my own family is concerned, I decided that my son’s penis was his and it should be his choice, just the same as I am now struggling with the decision of whether or not my daughter-to-be will have pierced ears before she is able to decide for herself. I just want my kids to know that I made the decision to 'not make the decision' for them.

At the end of the day, there are LOADS of things that I come across in my newsfeed that either irritate me or don't interest me whether it be about children at 5 still having a pacifier/dummy, political (love/loathe Obama) or even game requests. I still consider you friends…but I’ll admit I scroll right past your Candy Crush high score post or how many miles you just tracked on your Runkeeper app. Every now and again I’ll jump in to tell you how I think a Samsung Galaxy is far superior to anything iPhizzle-related but I don't think that ignoring your meme about 'my Lord and Saviour' rather than reposting means I'm disrespecting Jesus. I don’t judge those who have already made this decision for their son(s) but I also do not plan to stop posting on the issue when I find articles and links that I find are worth sharing. Yes, it’s sometimes a hard pill to swallow for some to think we have possibly done something other than protect our children, afterall, that's our main goal as loving parents, isn't it? But not everyone is given factual information and that’s all I’m trying to do. Few are given lists of possible complications (death from infection alone, no matter how rare, being one that I’m just not prepared to bargain with), let alone the BENEFITS of foreskin. We can only make accurate, informed decisions with all the proper facts and information.

If I am helping even just ONE parent to know the full truth before it’s too late to “take it back” then it’s worth it to me.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Y5 - 19/365: The Snowman

All bundled up and ready to go! Ryan begged Matt yesterday to build a snowman, but when they went out to try, Matt found the snow too powdery and it wouldn't stay together very well. There was a mound in the garden Matt made with the broom, but he couldn't manage to roll any properly into snowman parts. So, when Ryan was up from his nap we all got bundled up and had another go!

It wasn't perfect but we had far more success this time around. Ryan helped me choose some good 'arms' from the apple tree and once we used some stones for the face and a carrot nose, the snowman was nearly complete. 

A cheap top hat from the cupboard and Matt's Albion scarf (knitted by his Nan) were the finishing touches and...VOILA! We have a snowman!

Ryan was very tickled that our snowman had a carrot nose and even took to counting the stones that made up the eyes and mouth.

I'm sure at some point Ryan suggested we make a snow dog as well, but I think we will have to save that for another day.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Y5 - 18/365: Timestamp Snow-Day

7:25 am - My morning begins here. Just a little more than a light dusting, but so far nothing major. I can still see bits of pavement and the road is definitely clear. Just a five minute jaunt to the bus stop and I'll soon be on my way to Smethwick.

8:40 am - The snow has gotten heavier and heavier and no sign of my bus, which should have arrived four times in the last hour. To pass the time I've been pretending to re-check the timetable on the bus stop only to see the same, seemingly inaccurate, times and I've also told off a group of secondary school children for throwing snowballs into oncoming traffic towards people's windscreens. They retaliated by flipping me the bird to say "Sure, no problem," I'd imagine, and I encouraged them to get their butts to school and learn something.

8:47 am - Bus 53 FINALLY arrives, the driver paying no attention to my comment about him being the first bus in over an hour and I'm on my way, albeit late to the school.

9:20 am - I arrive and sign in before heading upstairs to the year 5 class I'm covering. We get through the rest of their literacy and numeracy before their morning "wet" play.

10:00 am - Incoming text from Matt. The childminder has phoned that the roads in Kingswinford are getting bad as she was just out in her 4x4 and was having difficulty, so upon suggestion he was heading there from work to collect Ryan and bring him home. By now, I'm wondering WHY my school even bothered staying open.

11:00 am - Hark!! Moment of truth!! Parents of the pupils are sent a text to come and collect their children and we do a bit of guided reading before playing some fun critical thinking games as the class dwindles in size.

1:20 pm - The Headteacher pokes her head into the staffroom to get a headcount on the number of children left and sorts out one staff member to cover each year before dismissing the rest of us, who live further away, to go home.

1:30 pm - I sign out and leave my timesheet behind to be faxed. I stop across the road at the Poundland for some cheapie (kids') gloves, since I forgot mine and make a pit-stop in the Cash & Carry to purchase a little surprise for Ryan. Bus services have been terminated, so off I trek to Smethwick Rolfe Street train station.

2:20 pm - I arrive at the train station to delay upon delay, but 20 or so minutes later I'm on my way home.

2:50 pm - Nearly home, I stop at Tesco Express around the corner to pick up things for tea. Lucky for me I have a method of transport so I don't have to lug everything up the hill and around the corner to the house.

2:57 pm - So close and such a contrast to the road this morning. The original photo this morning was taken just around the corner, about 150 yards ahead. Such a shame people in this country don't shovel the pavement outside their homes -- makes for a slow and slippery journey.

3:01 pm - Ryan peeking out the window, tipped off by Daddy that Mommy was nearly home. You can't see it very clearly, but he was elated to see his big, bright orange surprise sledge!

5:21 pm - After Mommy was able to warm up and have a bite to eat (courtesy Bostin Bites and a very thoughtful Daddy), we all bundled up and headed outside briefly to break the sledge in. Yes, I say 'sledge' here even though the word is very unnatural to me as I know it to be a SLED. Sledge makes me think of sledge hammer...which is very far from a device by which to slide leisurely down snow-covered hillsides.

 5:25 pm - Getting ready for Daddy's alternative idea, so time for a cheesy grin.

5:26 pm - Wait. Don't they call this curling?

5:35 pm - SNOWBALL!!! Alright. That's a'wrap! Time to head in and warm up with a nice, blue bath!

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Y5 - 17/365: Snow Predictions?

It has started again. We're meant to brace ourselves for a pretty wintery weekend and many are even predicting school closures tomorrow. Some may think this country is a little over-the-top when it comes to what they class as "severe" weather, but the truth is they don't have the resources to deal with even a small amount of snowfall. With narrow roads, cars parked on dual-carriageways and the lack of actual snow-plows to clear the snow to begin with...the country has no choice but to shut down.

I have no idea what we're in store for. The weather may or may not be as accurate, but I dread to think of the worst possible scenario.

So, for now, I won't think about it...and instead will join my son in reading some Little Bear stories for bed.