Token Sorting for parkrun …

Last week we decided to try our hand at token sorting for parkrun.  Adam has wanted to do it for ages but I wanted to choose a week where we would be volunteering the following week so we would have to be at parkrun at 8.30am-ish to hand them back rather than just turning up at around 8.50am and running.  As this week was going to be run on grass, we’d already decided that we were going to volunteer this week (handing out finishing tokens as it happens), we offered to do the token sorting last week.

It was great!  Adam helped a lot more than I thought he would and I found a new use for my Tupperware 😉

In fact, Adam enjoyed it so much he asked if we could do it again!  So, we did.  We brought the tokens home with us again this week and sorted them this morning.  While we were sorting them, I noticed a couple of things which made me think that we need to offer to do this role on a fairly regular basis.

  1. Threading the tokens back on to the shoelace helps with Adam’s fine motor skills
  2. Sorting the tokens, first into big piles of 100 tokens (it makes it easier to put into order) and then into rows of 10 (only 9 for the first row) helps with his counting and numeric sorting skills.

It would have been so easy to tell Adam where each token needed to go but I resisted and said that he needed to work it out himself even if I was sorting 10 tokens for every one of his.  Don’t tell Adam that he’s learning while he’s enjoying himself otherwise he won’t help again 🙂

So, here’s to more token sorting in our future but not in the next few weeks.  Maybe we’ll volunteer once every 4-6 weeks.

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Weekend in North Wales – Part 3

OK, I’m on a roll!  No sooner have I published part 2 and I’m writing part 3!  I won’t publish it for a couple of days though.  I wouldn’t want you to start expecting regular posts or anything 😉

So, Sunday morning arrived and we’d already planned to go to Llandudno and possibly up the Great Orme, nothing too taxing.  Well, that’s what we thought.  Stepdaughter had already posted a blog about her intention to take her scarecrow brother with us so that she, Adam and Stepson could have a sibling day out.  I’ll put the links to her posts at the end, it’ll save me adding too many photos.

Anyway, no sooner had we got out of the car, taken a picture of Scarecrow Brother on a bench looking out to sea – What!?!  Yes, this was the start of a strange, but very fun, day. – I saw the Cheshire Cat sculpture and had the idea of getting photos of the siblings doing the Alice in Wonderland trail, as well as going up the Great Orme!  Lots of walking to come.  First photo taken with the Cheshire Cat:

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Then we walked to Llandudno town centre to find the Tourist Information Centre (yes, another map) and get sausage rolls and drinks for lunch before finding more sculptures.  We saw the Queen of Hearts, the White Rabbit, Alice and the Mad Hatter before going for a walk along the pier, playing the slot machines in the arcade and eating our lunch.

After lunch, we decided we would take the tram to the top of the Great Orme.  Adam and Stepdaughter made sure that Scarecrow Brother was OK.  As I mentioned in my previous post, I love days like this and seeing Adam interacting so well.

After stopping for an ice cream, the blackcurrant flavour was divine, we then walked down the hill to find Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.  The Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum sculptures are next to a little tea shop so we stopped for a pot of tea for 3.  After all, it would have been rude not to.  We then carried on walking down, and across, and up to find the final group of sculptures.

After all that walking, we were ready to go back to the car. Another long walk!

After dinner, lovely chicken for me and chicken and stuffing pie (homemade by Stepdaughter) with veg, we went for another walk.  This time down to the beach.  Unfortunately, it was getting dark by the time we go there so the photo I took didn’t really come out 😦

Such a fun day!  We’ll have to do it again.

If you would like to read Stepdaughter’s posts about the Sibling Day Out, you can find them by following the links below:
24 Hours of Dad’s Kids
Siblings Day Out – Part 1
Siblings Day Out – Part 2
Siblings Day Out – Part 3

Weekend in North Wales – Part 2

OK, so I know it’s taking me ages to write and post these but I will get there.  I have a 3rd part planned and it will get written and posted before the end of next week, I hope.  Anyway, on to part 2 of our weekend.

After parkrun and bacon butties, we went back to Stepdaughter’s house to shower and change before going out for our next little adventure.  Stepdaughter decided that we could see if we could get a parking space at Aber Falls and hope that it wasn’t too busy.  As there had been some rain, she said it should be more than just the trickle they’d had for the last couple of months during our lovely, hot summer.

Well, we managed to get a parking spot and, after paying the £2 parking fee, we set off to walk the “easy” route to the falls.  I’m sure the sign said it was the easy route, it was about 4km (for the round trip) and the suggested time was around 2 hours, I think.  I should have taken a photo of the sign but I didn’t.  The route wasn’t “easy” as it was still a slope, and felt like a hill at times, but it was a fairly easy walk if you are able to walk the distance.  The views were worth it though.

 

Of course, we also had the obligatory selfie(s) and photo of Adam and his sister.  I love watching them together.  Stepdaughter has a lot of patience with him but I think that’s because she only sees him for short periods of time and he’s always better behaved when he sees her.

 

After walking back to the car, we realised that, although we had had a late breakfast after running, Stepdaughter had only had a bowl of rice krispies.  That’s not a good enough breakfast to keep you going past 2pm!  So, we stopped off at a shop on the way back to Stepdaughter’s house to get fixings for sandwiches and popped home for some lunch.

Moving on to late afternoon, we decided to go into Conwy.  The Man had decided that he’d like fish and chips for tea and Stepdaughter knew the perfect place.  We arrived in Conwy just in time to find the Tourist Information centre before they closed.  Adam has a thing for maps so obviously we had to go and get one, or two, and some other leaflets.

We then went for a walk to see the castle, the smallest house (the Man went inside to have a look) and walked round the walls before going for fish and chips.

 

Finally, after we got back to Stepdaughter’s house, via Tesco to get ingredients for Maltesers brownie – we needed cake! – Stepdaughter and Adam spent time looking up music videos on YouTube.  I happened to mention that Adam had signed to a song the week before and it was so lovely it made me cry.  We found a version of the song which someone had sung and signed as a cover – it was beautiful.

After that, it was Disney songs, mainly the Lion King, before shutting everything down and going to bed.

Weekend in North Wales – Part 1

Conwy parkrun

What a lovely weekend we had. It could have been better but it could have been worse too. My husband, son and I went to stay with my step-daughter for a few days and the weekend was full of laughter and a few tears (from laughing).

First, though, we had to actually get to the step-daughter’s. I looked up the directions on the maps app in the morning and it said that the estimated time for the joutney, without a break, was 2 hours and 45 minutes. By the time I finished work the estimated time had increased to 4 hours and 15 minutes! Including a break for something to eat the journey actually took nearly 5 hours. It was ok though as the traffic was moving rather than stop -start.

We got to the Stepdaughter’s at some point before 9pm and then spent about the next hour stood chatting in the kitchen with Girl Nextdoor, as you do. Good fun and a nice way to end a long journey.

We did just about manage to get to bed at our usual time which was just as well as we were off to a new, for us, park run on Saturday morning.

Saturday morning dawned and off we went to Conwy parkrun. Conwy park run is in a lovely setting at the RSPB reserve and the route goes out of the reserve over the railway line (the only “hill” on an otherwise flat course) towards the bridge to Conwy town centre, before turning round and heading towards Deganwy marina. We turned round at the marina and returned to the start almost the same way as we’d come. As I said, it’s a lovely route, the only problem we had was that it is very narrow in places which make overtaking difficult, especially when the faster runners are on their way back. Also, although Adam is good at running single file for short periods of time, he slows down a lot and needs reassurance that I’m still there if we are doing more than just overtaking other runners.

We finished in 34:28 which, considering it was a new course for us and the slower pace due to starting further back than usual and a lot of single file running, wasn’t too bad. The Man finished in under 39 minutes too which was fab. After all that running, it was only right that we support the RSPB by stopping by the coffee shop for drinks and bacon butties (they were huge!)

Finally, for this part one post, the obligatory park run selfie and a photo of Adam (with the Man in the background).

25 years

So, last week the Man and I made it to our silver wedding anniversary. 25 years! Sometimes I wonder how we made it and then I remember, I married my best friend!

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Of course it isn’t really that simple. I mean, even best friends argue and fall out, but you work at it. If it is worth it to both parties you find compromise in most situations. Of course, it helps when he finally realises that I was right in the first place 😉

So here are my top 25 tips (some serious, others not so much) for lasting 25 years, and hopefully another 25:

  1. Love each other – it kinda helps
  2. Don’t try to change each other. You fell in love with each other as you were.
  3. If you’re going to change, change together.
  4. Walk away from an argument you can’t win.  Actually, walk away even if you can if your other half is still saying black is white after 15 minutes maybe it’s time to take a break. Take time to cool down and see their side.  If necessary, agree to disagree (for now anyway).
  5. Don’t do everything together. It’s ok to do things that you enjoy on your own.
  6. Find something that you enjoy doing together, even if it is something as simple as going for a run together.  If you are faster, slow down to their pace once in a while and give them encouragement.  Let them know that you are there for them and that they are doing really well.
  7. Don’t go to sleep on an argument. If you don’t agree with each other, kiss and cuddle then leave it alone. You’ll probably have forgotten about it in the morning. If it’s really important, save it for when one of you isn’t trying to get some sleep.
  8. Put your phone, tablet, laptop etc away. Actually spend time with each other while not being distracted by social media.
  9. Try to eat at least one meal a day together as a couple, or family, without distractions so you can all catch up on what has been happening in each other’s lives.  This isn’t always possible if you work shifts but on days when you are all at home, do it.
  10. Be true to yourself. Don’t try to be someone you’re not. You’ll only make yourself, and them, unhappy.
  11. Don’t expect them to do everything.  Split the chores.  I think I got the better end of this deal – when we first moved in together we had a twin tub so I would spend the best part of Saturday doing the washing while the Man did the vacuuming and dusting.  This split of labour continued even after we got a “proper” washing machine 🙂
  12. Never forget the silly things he’s done and remind him of them often.  For example, the Man thought a terabyte was called a teddy-byte.  We still chuckle about this, and a lot more.
  13. Don’t take each other for granted.
  14. Try to have a date night.  We didn’t have date night for years (it’s kind of hard with a  disabled child) but once we got some regular care we have date night whenever we are both free on that evening.  We even met up for lunch on our anniversary during the Man’s lunch break as I wasn’t at work.
  15. Be each other’s best friend and cheer-leader.
  16. Close the toilet when you’ve finished!  It’s not just about putting the seat down, gentlemen, it’s also about putting the lid down, ladies and gentlemen.  I’ve lost count of the times things have fallen out of the cupboard over the toilet and gone in.  Do you want to fish a toothbrush out of the loo?  No, nor do I.
  17. Talk to each other about anything that is bothering you.  Don’t bottle it up.
  18. If there are TV programmes that one of you wants to watch but the other doesn’t, record them and watch them later.  You don’t have to like all the same programmes, or sports, so watch what you both like together and then have times to watch the other stuff separately.  I will often sit reading a book while the Man watches the F1, or he’ll watch it on catch-up when I’m at work if he’s had to miss the live coverage or highlights due to work.
  19. Listen to each other.  If they want to have a rant about something that has happened, let them.  Don’t interrupt and let them finish what they are saying – you may not need to respond once they’ve got it off their chest.
  20. Accept their quirks.  They may annoy you but keep your mouth shut!  If you didn’t break up with them because of it in the early days of dating, it’s too late now.  Accept it, I’m sure you have some habits that annoy them too.
  21. Accept responsibility.  If you’ve done something silly, admit it.  Even if it was flooding the garage because the hose wasn’t connected to the tap or deleting a recorded show before he’d watched it (yes, I’ve done that and I admitted to it, fortunately I was able to get it back!)
  22. Share the cooking.  If you can’t cook, learn to cook something even if it is fish fingers, potato waffles and peas/baked beans.
  23. Keep the intimacy alive (sorry step-daughter, I know you’ll be reading this but it has to go in).  It’s important.
  24. Kiss each other good bye … even if it is 4.30 in the morning!
  25. Laugh … a lot!

That’s it.  That’s my list.  Of course, there is one person I didn’t refer to on my list who is a very important part of my life.  Our son.  He’s important in both of our lives but he does not make the marriage work, we do.  We are not still together for the sake of our son if we were then when he finally goes to live independently … what then?

It’s the little things

Proud Mummy moment coming up! It wasn’t until I was talking to my boss/friend this morning that I realised quite how much of an achievement this was. You see, I knew Adam could do it, otherwise I wouldn’t have let him go on his own.

Anyway, a few weeks ago I had a stall at a local summer fair and, as The Man was working, Adam had to come with me. The fair was open from 11am to 3pm which isn’t long but when you have to get there to drop stuff off then drive the car home and walk back at 9.30am it feels like a very long day.

On Saturday evening, we looked up the Man’s shift and saw that he was going to be driving the bus route which has a stop at the Tesco close to the fair so we also looked up the times of the buses he would be driving. The Man and I arranged that, if Adam wanted to, he could go for a round trip on the bus into the city centre and out again.

 

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Adam enjoying a cup of tea, in a Tupperware Commuter Mug (of course)

 

After Adam had helped me to set up the gazebo and tables, put out the Tupperware and had a cup of tea, he decided he’d like to walk the, probably, half mile to the bus stop. Now, this isn’t a new route for him as it was part of the route which he walked to College (2014 to 2016) and we walk to Tesco regularly.  However, it was the first time he’d chosen to walk part of the route, starting from a different point and having to cross a road he hadn’t crossed on his own before.  He phoned me when he got to the bus stop and told me he’d seen the Man driving to the park and ride site and that the board on the bus stop, which tells you how long you have to wait until the next bus, said that the next bus was due in 6 minutes.  Adam then phoned me when he got off the bus to let me know he was on his way back to the fair.

When he got back to the fair, he needed the toilet.  Unfortunately, he hadn’t thought to use the toilet at Tesco after he got off the bus so he had an accident.  It was OK, these things happen sometimes, and I asked Adam if he wanted to walk home and get changed.  He said yes and off he went again, after asking me what time I thought he should be back by.  He was quicker than I said which was great!  Walking home and letting himself in, including turning off the alarm, isn’t new.  Again, he’s done it before.  The big deal about this is that he walked home, turned off the alarm, went in the house, got changed, came out of the house, locked the door, turned on the alarm and then walked back. 100% ON HIS OWN!  He didn’t even phone me to let me know he was home or on his way back.  We’d set a time limit and that was good enough for him and for me.

Adam wouldn’t have done either of these a year ago so this was amazing.  However, what he did do last Summer, and has done again this Summer, is cover my stall for me while I go to the toilet or go to get him a cup of tea.  He has also taken a note into the coffee shop to buy himself a cup of tea (after I’ve been in with him for the first cup) and ask for my water bottle to be refilled.


I originally started writing this post on my phone a few weeks ago and then forgot about it!  I have a couple of other Proud Mummy moments to post about too but I’ll write a separate post for those.

30 Day Breakfast Challenge

I’ve always struggled with eating breakfast.  I find it especially challenging on mornings when I go running.  You see, I love my bed and hate getting up any earlier than I have to so going for a run at 8.30am when I’ve only got out of bed at 7.30am doesn’t give me a lot of time for a good breakfast.  Especially when I’m running around making packed lunches too.  Anyway, during May I am making a conscious effort to eat breakfast every day.  This doesn’t mean I’ll be eating a lot but a banana counts!

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So, how have I done so far?

  1. Weetabix, berries and milk
  2. Porridge with berries
  3. Banana
  4. Bagel with banana
  5. Banana
  6. 0% fat natural yogurt with honey
  7. Forever Ultra Shake with berries

What do you have for breakfast?  I need some ideas for quick, easy and light breakfasts.  Bananas can get boring.

So much more than running

Last Friday was Undiagnosed Children’s Day and I wrote a post about Adam’s achievements in the past few years.  My step-daughter shared it on Twitter saying that it was the best blog she’s read in ages – she obviously doesn’t have very high standards if she thinks that – because it was about The Boy.  If that is her reasoning then, I’ll let her get away with praising my blog.

Anyway, it gave me an idea for another post about Adam and his achievements.  More specifically his achievements at parkrun.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays I try to go running with a group of people who I met at parkrun.  They are mainly retired or semi-retired and I am easily the youngest amongst them but they are a great group of people and very supportive.  Anyway, last Thursday I was running with a lovely gentleman who was taking it easy after completing the London Marathon last week – he’s now completed 275 marathons and wants to get to 300 before he finishes!  We were having a lovely chat and he happened to mention that he remembered how much I had to persuade, cajole, encourage and bribe Adam round the 5km when we started parkrun.  Now, I’ll either leave him or he’ll leave me because he, and I, have more confidence.  I remember to first time I decided enough was enough and left Adam to walk to the finish with the thought that I would go back and get him when I’d finished.  I didn’t get very far back down the course because my running buddy’s wife had caught up with Adam and told him to start running again!  As he does with everyone else, Adam left her behind with about 200m to go.  I was very grateful to her because it confirmed what I already knew, our parkrun family would look after Adam and help him on his way.

My running buddy also mentioned how much he enjoys it if we start behind him because he knows that Adam will catch up with him and say “Hello” with a big grin on his face before running away.  Adam will also let anyone he knows know he’s coming because he’ll be telling me, very loudly, who he can see.  They get plenty of warning that Adam will be coming to say hello and then pass them.

This happened to another running buddy of mine on Saturday.  We were only about 800m from the finish when I caught up with her and Adam had left me at about 3.5km to make his run for home.  When I caught up with her, she mentioned how much confidence Adam has gained, especially in the last couple of years, because more often than not he’ll run the last 1km to 1.5km on his own.  If I’m doing run/walk pacing for someone else, Adam will even run the full 5km either with another parkrunner or on his own.

parkrun has contributed more than confidence in running though.  Going to parkrun every week has also given Adam more social interaction, team-working, communication skills and the chance to try a variety of volunteer roles.  Now, he will go and talk to people he knows, and even drag them over to say hello to me!  He will do a volunteer role while I run because he feels safe in the parkrun environment.

Finally, last week we got a box from the Co-op as they are now an official partner of parkrun.  I knew they were going to be at York parkrun but didn’t know we’d each get a box of goodies to take home.  It’s a shame my husband wasn’t there too, we could have had 3 boxes to bring home 🙂  I was pleasantly surprised with t he contents of the box too:  a 500ml bottle of olive oil, a tin of chopped tomatoes, a tin of cannellini beans and a jar of crushed chillies.  Adam immediately said that we can use the tomatoes in our mince next time we make bolognaise.  We could add the tin of beans too although when my husband saw the box he said he could use the beans in his salads for lunch.  I guess he can have one and we’ll use the other.  Oh, we got a £3 voucher to use when spending £3 or  more at Co-op too 😀

Share Your World – 23rd April 2018

I haven’t participated in Cee’s Share Your World for quite a while but I used to enjoy it and figured it would at least give me something to write about and get me back here on a semi-regular basis.  So, almost a week late I know, here are my answers to this week’s questions:

If you could have an endless supply of any food, what would you get?

This is actually quite a tough one for me.  My first thought was CHOCOLATE!  After all, I love chocolate … and cake … and biscuits, well anything sweet, but I’m not sure I’d want an endless supply of it.  I think that an endless supply of either chicken or mince would be quite good.  I mean, they are so versatile and I use both regularly when making dinner each week.

List at least five movies or books that cheer you up.

Films:  any Disney/Pixar film but especially the Cars and Toy Story films; Love Actually; The Holiday;  The Santa Clause films

Books:  Harry Potter; The Large Family books by Jill Murphy, I used to love reading these to Adam when he was little; Anne of Green Gables; James Herriott’s All Creatures Great and Small series of books; Little House on the Prairie books

If you were a mouse in your house in the evening, what would you see your family doing? 

Watching TV (catching up on all the programmes we’ve recorded whilst my husband has been on late finishes) and my son on his computer looking up Disney parades etc on YouTube.

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week?  Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. 

 

Undiagnosed Children’s Day 2018 – #UCDsuperhero

In 2013, I wrote a post on Undiagnosed Children’s Day.  I followed this with a post about My Not So Little SWAN the following day and then wrote another post in 2014.  This year, I thought I’d write another post.

Adam, essentially, has an undiagnosed disability.  As it affects his learning ability, he has been diagnosed as having a Learning Disability but this covers an awful lot.  Anyway, what has happened since the last posts in 2013 and 2014?  A LOT!

He can now travel independently to 4 different venues after going through travel training and being supported for the first few trips to make sure he knew the route.  He phones me to let me know he is on his way and phones his carer if he is on his way to them.  He also phones me if he can’t get the bus he is supposed to get or if the route is changed so I can support him through the change.

He can now make mince for shepherd’s pie or lasagne from scratch, including preparing the vegetables, with very little supervision or prompting from me.  Thanks to the Tupperware Herb Chopper which he loves using for cutting the carrot, onion and any other veg we decide to throw in!

He is a lot more sociable.  This year he decided that he wanted to go to the “inclusive” disco which is held once a month at Blueberry Academy.  He’s known about it for about 4 years and finally asked if he could go last August or September.  It wouldn’t be my cup of tea but he enjoys it.

He’s tried more volunteering roles at parkrun – he can now marshal, funnel manage, barcode scan and help with finish tokens without support.  He has also been the 2:1 run/walk pacer, on his own.  He was supposed to be pacing with me but we had run/walkers of different speeds so we split up with Adam pacing someone we know and her nephew while I took the parkrunners who we didn’t know.  We don’t know if it was deliberate or and accident but Adam switched the run and walk round so that it was run 1 minute, walk 2 minutes but this worked out better for our regular parkrunner’s nephew as he was struggling to run for 2 minutes.  Either way, well done to my boy for that.

He completed 1,000 hours of volunteering at SNAPPY!  He’s also volunteered over 25 times at parkrun.  He received a certificate at the Mayor’s Shine Awards for his volunteering and fundraising runs.

So, here’s to another year of improvement and skills/confidence building for Adam and for me.  We won’t be letting the fact that there is no disability diagnosis hold us back.  Adam is without doubt my super hero.