All posts by fisefton

Mum, Wife, Runner, Administrator, Bookkeeper, Tupperware Lady, Chief Bottle Washer, General Dogsbody...

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?

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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.

 

Earth Day and Animal Kingdom

Today, 22nd April, is Earth Day but, for us, it is also the 20th anniversary of the opening of Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  Adam hasn’t stopped talking about it!  Well, he has stopped talking to me but I think he’s still searching the internet for the programme and map for today in Animal Kingdom.

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Animal Kingdom Entrance (photo from 2006)

Personally, I think it is fitting that a company like Disney would choose to open Animal Kingdom on Earth Day.  Having visited Disney on quite a few occasions, Animal Kingdom (and Disney World as a whole) are very much about doing what they can to help the environment and the earth.  Whilst they do still sell drinks (including water) in plastic bottles, any bottles which are thrown away on Disney property are recycled.  To the best of my knowledge, they don’t use plastic straws.  I know this is definitely the case in Animal Kingdom but think it is resort wide at Disney World.  According to their website, they diverted 46% of waste from landfill and incineration in 2017 and aim to divert 60% by 2020.

The last time we were at Disney World and stayed at Animal Kingdom Lodge, we bought the refillable mugs for the length of our stay.  This meant that we didn’t have to get a new paper cup every time we wanted a drink when we were at the resort.  It saved us money too.  At the end of our stay, I decided to hand the cups in at Reception for them to recycle as I knew we wouldn’t use them if we bought them home as we already have about 6!  We also took our old Magic Bands back so they could recycle those as we didn’t need them anymore.  When we go back to Disney World, I will be looking to see if I can find any old refillable mugs and the Magic Bands from the last trip to take back and get recycled.  I’d rather hand them back than have them sitting in my cupboards not doing anything apart from taking up space.

Journal Jar – Family Reunions

Another journal jar prompt about family.  Oh dear!

Tell about family reunions you have attended.

I’d love to tell you about family reunions but I haven’t been to any!  Unless you count my mother-in-law’s funeral.  I suppose it was a kind of reunion, I mean most of my husband’s family were there as well as friends of my mother-in-law.

What I remember most was me taking my son, step-daughter, step-son and their grandparents to the pub while we left the rest of the family, including my husband, at the wake.  We did then go back to talk to the rest of the family but I think my son and step-children needed a break and with 2 pubs in the village that was our best option.

Journal Jar – Favourite Aunt or Uncle

Another blog prompt from my Journal Jar:

Tell about your favourite aunt or uncle.  Were you close?  What do you remember most?

To be honest, my family aren’t particularly close.  I can go for weeks, or even months, not speaking to my parents or sister.  It’s not that we are estranged or anything, it’s just that we don’t talk much.  I think it stems from being at boarding school before all of the technology we have now so we didn’t see/speak to each other for 3 months at a time and it kind of stuck.

Anyway, this is supposed to be about a favourite aunt or uncle.  I don’t have a favourite but I guess the one I knew most was my mum’s brother as I spent a lot of weekends at my grandma’s while I was at school and he’d often bring my cousin over.  I remember his bald head and his beard but not much else.  I know he had a great sense of humour and made me laugh with stories of my mum as a child.

Baking, parkrun and planning

It’s Easter weekend which means I have 4 days off!  Yay!  The man of the house is working most of the weekend, his one day off is tomorrow, so what was I going to do with Adam, and myself?

First was a trip in to York city centre to the York Chocolate Festival.  We’ve been to the Chocolate Festival for the past few years but after last year, which I didn’t think was particularly good, I wasn’t sure I wanted to go again.  This year was much better than last year!  They even had a booklet with activities for the kids, I almost wished I’d picked one up and dragged Adam round the city centre to find the clues 😉  Anyway, with all that chocolate on display I could have spent a fortune!  I didn’t.  I decided I would buy some chocolate dipped honeycomb from a company I haven’t seen before – it is gorgeous!!! – and that would be my only purchase.

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We got home at about 2.30pm after deciding to get the park and ride bus back to Tesco and then walk home from there.  For some reason the “city” buses are on a Sunday service for Good Friday and Easter Monday but the park and ride buses are following their usual weekday timetable.  Not that it makes much difference for the park and ride service as they are approximately every 10 minutes regardless of which day it is, they just change their start times on Sundays.

Anyway, after we got home I decided that I wanted to do some baking.  I was only going to make a crème egg brownie but when we were in Tesco I saw a pack of 11 mini bags of mini eggs which were on offer, buy two packs for £5.  Well, on 11-pack was £4 so it seemed silly not to take advantage of getting 11 more mini bags for £1.  So, what was I going to do with the mini eggs except make a mini egg brownie and some cupcakes with mini eggs on top.  Then, while I was looking for the brownie recipe online, I found a recipe for mini egg rocky road.  So that was added to my baking list.

The recipe for the brownies came from Jane’s Patisserie, she has so many great bakes on her website go check them out!  I took the basic recipe (Easter Brownies) and adapted it to fit the eggs which I had – mini eggs (lots) instead of all of the different types of mini egg.  For the crème egg brownies, I did the same brownie mixture and just pushed the crème egg halves on the top.
The mini egg rocky road recipe (in the Tupperware box in the middle) came from She Who Bakes.  I only had a small Tupperware box to put it in so I made half the recipe and it fit in the small, low Freezer Mate beautifully.  Next time, I’ll make the full amount and split it between two Freezer Mates as it went down a storm!

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That is too much sweet, chocolatey goodness for this household to handle so I decided to take it to parkrun with me this morning.  I still have some left but the runners and volunteers didn’t let me down.  This mornings parkrun was a little soggy, to say the least with 3 or 4 HUGE puddles in the first 500m.  I was shattered by the time I’d finished my first 3 minute run interval after running through them.  I had wet feet and even a wet bum!  The alternative was to run through the muddy, boggy grass and at least my shoes stayed clean 🙂

That brings us on to this afternoon.  Planning …  We are off to Disney World, again, later this year so I have been doing some planning for our trip.  Deciding where to eat, which parks we want to visit – Adam has decided he’d like to go to LEGOLAND as our “extra” this year.  As we are going for a shorter trip, we can only add one “extra” rather than two.  We are also hoping to find the Tupperware Visitors Centre 🙂  Not my idea, even though I have wanted to go for years.  My husband said to me a couple of months ago “Fi, do you know that Tupperware’s head office is in Orlando?”  Well, duh!  Of course I do/did.  I just never suggested visiting because I wasn’t sure he’d want to.  Now he’s suggested it, however, we’re going!

What are you doing with your long weekend?  Do you have time off or are you working?  Is it just another day?