Category Archives: Family and Home

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 😀

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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.

Animal Kingdom Entrance

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?

Menopause?

*WARNING* If you don’t want to read about periods and lady things then stop reading NOW!  Don’t say I didn’t warn you if you keep on reading.

OK, so this is really happening, probably … menopause has started.  I’m actually OK with it.  I mean I have had the one and only child I am ever going to have.  Trust me, I’m not starting again in my mid-40s, I really couldn’t go through all that again!  As it is my hands-on parenting days are going to last a lot longer than most without the patter of tiny feet.

When my step-daughter, Becky, started going through early menopause last year (she’s blogged about HRT so I’m sure she won’t mind the mention), I spoke to my mum about it as Becky wasn’t getting much, if any, advice from her Nanna who, apparently sailed through with no problems.  Unfortunately, my mum wasn’t any help either because she (and my grandma) sailed through it too!  Great!  Let’s hope I sail through, that would be nice.  It’s not looking likely that I’ll get through unscathed.

So, the symptoms include (only listing the ones affecting me right now if you want to see the list click on the link to the NHS website):

Night sweats – I have those which is really disconcerting when I have to wear socks to bed, until I warm up, because I also have Raynaud’s Syndrome which mean I have cold hands and feet, a lot.  Oh, and I have a really warm husband who emits a lot of heat – I don’t need any more heat, please!

Difficulty sleeping – well, duh, thanks to the night sweats I’m waking up!  Apparently this can make you more irritable during the day.

Headaches – nothing new there, I get headaches with my period anyway and always have.  That’s just something I have lived with for over 30 years.

… but there’s more …

Most of us know that your periods start getting a bit hit and miss, right?  OK, I can cope with missing periods and not knowing when it’s going to come along next.  What I didn’t know, until I googled it because it started happening to me late last year, is that your periods can get more frequent (like every 2 to 3 weeks!) and longer!  What?!?  Yes!  I am one of the “lucky” ones who has gone from a 28 day cycle to a 23 day cycle and the period itself lasts 7 days!  Oh, and the first 2 days are *heavy*, like goes through the super plus extra tampons in 2 hours heavy.  The NHS website helpfully says:

You may start having either unusually light or heavy periods.

The frequency of your periods may also be affected. You may have one every two or three weeks, or you may not have one for months at a time.

I wish I’d known that earlier.  Ah well, I know now.

Here’s hoping that this will be the extent of my symptoms as I don’t seem to be getting hot flushes but you never know that may come.

Apparently, a good diet (avoiding caffeine and spicy food) and exercise can help with the symptoms and yoga/meditation helps with mood swings and irritability.  Well, I don’t like spicy food and I don’t drink tea or coffee, although I do like my diet coke so maybe it’s time to find an alternative or maybe I’ll just start out by cutting down the amount I drink.  I also have a healthy diet, most of the time after all you have to have treats occasionally.  With regards to exercise, ever since discovering parkrun I’ve found that I actually like running and as of 2nd January I have been taking part in Yoga with Adriene’s True 30 Day Yoga Journey.  I’ve really been enjoying my daily yoga and will be continuing it into February and beyond.

Q & A

So, the lovely Becky, decided to nominate her step-mum (me) as her one and only nomination for this Q&A.  Now, if anyone else had nominated me I’d probably have politely declined to answer the questions but as it’s Becky, I’ll give it a shot.  I will, however, not be setting any of my own questions or nominating anyone as the only person I’d nominate would be … Becky.

Here goes.  Firstly, the rules as copied and pasted from Becky’s post:

Rules

(as taken from AJ’s blog post)

  • Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the questions sent to you. 
  • Nominate around ten bloggers. I will nominate one blogger – my step-mum, Fi (and whoever else wants to answer my questions).
  • Create your set of questions for your nominees. See below…
  • List the rules and display the Brotherhood Of The World logo in your post.

Now onto Becky’s questions:

1.  Why did you start your blog?
I initially started my blog on MSN as a private blog in about 2006 as an online journal to record my thoughts about being a mature student at college, and then university.  I then started a public blog when the MSN one was moved on to WordPress in around 2010 and I couldn’t be bothered to keep it all private anymore.  The WordPress blog started as somewhere to record my exercise goals and whether or not I reached those goals as well as some of the challenges faced having a child with a disability.

2. What do you wish others would blog about more often?
I’m not particularly bothered about what other people blog about.  I have some which I follow but I don’t wish they would blog about certain topics more than others.  I choose to read them because they are interesting to me.

3.  Where do you go to for blog post ideas when you’re out of them yourself?
A few years ago I found a list of questions for a “Journal Jar” and printed them out.  I have them sat on my desk and every so often I’ll put my hand in a pull out a prompt.  I also have a list of “interesting dates” in the front of my diary which is useful too.  Did you know it’s Strawberry Ice Cream Day today and Nothing Day tomorrow?

4.  Have you made many friends through blogging?
I haven’t made any friends who I’ve met up with or anything but I have a few bloggers who I follow and who follow me and we interact fairly regularly.  Well, we used to when I was blogging a lot more regularly/frequently than I do now.  I don’t have time to read loads of blogs and then comment on them too.  Sorry fellow bloggers x

5.  What are the best things about reading blog posts written by others?
I love reading lots of different blogs for different reasons.  Some will inspire me to get out there and get my butt in gear to reach my exercise goals.  Others will give me ideas for things to make or do.  Others make me laugh out loud.  I love reading Becky’s blog because it gives me an insight into what she’s been going through even though we do speak to each other on a fairly regular basis, some things are easier to write about than talk about.  Also, if you haven’t read some of Becky’s earlier posts, there are some laugh out loud reads on there.  Her recent stuff is good too 😉

Thanks for this Becky.  I promise, I’ll try to blog more regularly this year but I can’t guarantee it.

Journal Jar – Favourite toy?

I decided to put my hand in my Journal Jar again and today I came out with:

Did you have a favourite blanket or toy? Tell about it.

I did have a favourite toy as a child.  I had a blue and pink bear called Herbert.  Unfortunately, I can’t remember much about him as he decided to take a trip out of the packing box when we moved between countries.  I don’t know why he wasn’t travelling with me in my bag on the plane but he wasn’t so he got lost.  After he got lost, my dad bought me a Care Bear (Grumpy Bear) and named him Bill.  He was then my favourite.  I gave Bill to Adam when he was little but he is now back to being mine and sits on a shelf in the bedroom with my Eeyore and a few other cuddly toys.