If I could give you one gift it would be to see yourself through my eyes and then you would see how special you really are.

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

A monkey for a little man

Off we went to Build A Bear to buy a bear for number 4. This was child 3's idea a couple of months ago when I took her to buy a bear. We decided that a monkey was a good choice because he had long arms and legs perfect for wrapping himself around a sad and confused little boy. Child 2 helped with the stuffing, ensuring that he was soft yet filled with enough fluff to keep him strong and robust  and child 1 gently pressed the heart into its chest. Then we completed Monkey's birth certificate with his name Monkey, birth date who it was for and who has given it with love.

I am so proud of my children, they have pretty much taken our adoption plans in their stride, all three wanting to welcome their new brother into our home and hearts in their own special way.  On a good day Child 1 will love him, mothering him showing him that he is a child of our hearts, child 2 will help him grow strong and independent yet gentle when required and child 3 will teach him to share and to love us back. On a bad day child 1 will teach him how not to handle difficult women, child 2 will teach him to fight and child 3 will probably teach him to swear! Oh joy of joys x

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Five go on an adventure despite the rain

Being that half glass full lady, I have a tendency to only see the sunny bit when checking the weather and yesterday's weather said sunny spells with a chance of showers so we chanced a trip to picnic at our favourite beach. It poured as we left the house "it's only a shower" I assured everyone then about halfway to the beach  we drove through another shower. "We must be mad" my husband said. But then there in the distance was a ribbon of blue sky, the clouds seemed to be lighter, well I guess instead of black and low they were grey.

We arrived a bit late as usual, to find Nanna, Grandad and my brothers two children waiting for us. "You are very late" stated my nephew "I counted to 237 whilst waiting for you". After drinks and chocolate covered flapjacks we headed down to the beach. What I love about this beach is how different the coastline looks each and every time we visit. Today the tide was still in, the waves were still beating against the cliffs where we usually explore so we decided to walk along the cliff top first, thinking that the tide will have started its journey away from the beach by the time we reached the metal staircase that takes us down to the rocks. By the time we reached the kissing gate at the beginning of the cliff path we were forced into the bushes to wait out a very heavy shower, heavy enough that you could see intrepid explorers running from the edges of the beach along the path and back to their cars. We decided that we may as well wait out the rain. We were quite sheltered, huddled together, and to make a run for the cars would inevitably lead to us getting drenched. The shower didn't last too long and we could watch it pass over us and make its way along the coastline a dark shadow drifting slowly away, leaving behind it, swathes of blue sky interspersed with grey.

Following the cliff path the scent of the sea was thick and heavy in the air, due in part to the weather I am sure but also because it was still so close, the waves still buffering up against the cliff side, we were protected from the wind by the heavily laden blackberry and sloe berry bushes, definitely somewhere to return to at the end of September for some harvesting.

The metal stairs were still damp, either from the rain or the sea spray, so we gingerly made our way down, the children chattering excitedly, could we make our way back along the beach or would the sea still be obstructing our way? As we made our way around the first bend,the sea was indeed beginning its turn away, so we were able to follow the trail of drying rocks hugging the base of the cliffs. The children found fossils and climbed to the top of a huge rock that must have been dragged from the cliffs by angry seas since our last visit. By the time we made it back to the picnic area we were all starving and the sun had come out to play.

Sooner or later we will be really caught out by the weather but, I think that would just be an adventure in its self!

Sunday, 28 July 2013

The power of food

Whilest I ate breakfast this morning, listening as usual to Radio 4, Mishal Husain a BBC presenter gave what I felt to be a fantastic tribute to her friend Jon Leyne, the war reporter who died earlier this week from a brain tumour. Mishal shared his Lime and Lemongrass chicken recipe. I am rarely effected by news of someone famous dying but this particular tribute made me stop, listen,smile and brought a tear to my eye. I didn't really know who Jon Leyne was but, I did think what a wonderful way to be remembered. That recipe will be followed by many, no doubt shared with friends and families and he will be remembered by people taking part in one of my favourite pastimes eating.

I love sharing a meal, as a family we almost always eat dinner together and this time is full of sharing news, debating opinions sometimes involving laughter, raised voices even the slamming of doors. Last night I shared a meal with some of the girls from a Fitball class I attend, we are all such different  characters from very different walks of life yet Fitball introduced us to each other and we ate chorizo and chicken one pot followed by summer berries washed down with vino, chatter and laughter followed by poor choice of movie "A Song for Marion" I couldn't even consider wearing my contact lens this morning because my eyes were still swollen following the weeping this film provoked.

Then today we had a barbecue with some of the family 15 in total, each family group bringing food chicken satay, colourful couscous salads amazing desserts like chocolate and strawberry cheesecake and banoffee  pie to add to the lamb chops, sausages and array of salads. We had prosecco, pink fizz, juice and coke bottles with our names on. We don't get together very often but a shared meal seems to   link us together encouraging us to share our lives with us finishing the day with promises of get togethers in the future.

Many of the friends and family we are lucky to have seem to share this love of meeting and eating. It seems that sharing a meal around a table or a picnic blanket builds friendship, trust and love.

I guess there is a lot of truth in the saying "the family that eats together stays together"

Saturday, 27 July 2013

The trials of being a Tooth Fairy

Child 3 has lost a tooth, the one she has been wobbling for days. She has been pushing at it with her tongue so that it just sticks out through her lips making me shiver!

Long gone are the days, when a copper tuppence was the gift left under a pillow in exchange for a tiny shiny pearl white tooth. No now with inflation a tuppence has become a shiny gold pound coin and the tooth fairy is expected to write little letters.

Child 3 very excitedly placed her tooth under her pillow and the next morning ran into our bedroom devasted because her tooth was still there. "Why didn't the Tooth Fairy come last night" she wept. I rubbed the sleep from my eyes, pulled her into my embrace and muttered "because it rained so hard last night, maybe her wings didn't work properly". Well I couldn't very well say "because your mum is rubbish and forgot could I?"

That night I left a note under my pillow with my pyjamas to remind me to be the Tooth Fairy and I crept into child 3's bedroom to leave her coin, but there with her tooth was a little note. The note said how much child 3 loved the Tooth Fairy and then went onto ask how old she was (if it wasn't rude to ask) and why she hadn't come to collect the tooth the night before.

Did you know that Tooth Fairies can be really old, like 157 years old and they collect all the teeth in a family. Child 3's Tooth Fairy collected her grandparents and her parents teeth and the reason that sometimes she doesn't collect teeth is if it has been raining, because the raindrops weigh down her wings so much that she can't fly. Tooth Fairies love little children and they love it when those same little children keep their teeth clean and shiny just like jewels.

Friday, 26 July 2013

An insight into my fears

One of my biggest fears in the adoption process has been the meeting of the foster mother. There are just so many conflicting emotions, fear, apprehension, guilt, concern, empathy and sorrow. We have to visit our number 4 for the first time under her watchful eye, then through the placement process we will be visiting him at her home, taking him out, bringing him here for the afternoon, then the day but always returning him to her.

I know that I am capable of looking after a child, I have three of them, all of whom seem pretty well rounded to me. Children in care are a different kettle of fish, potentially they will have some  different needs than our birth children and the foster carers having providing those, in our case for nearly two years. What if she sits there thinking "well I wouldn't do it like that"

Then, there is the huge elephant in the room, I am going to be taking this little boy away from the only family he has known, the foster family will have built a strong loving relationship with him and I am going to take him away from that. I know, I know as foster carers that is what they are trained for, if they wanted to keep him they would have adopted him. But that doesn't help me with how I feel.

Our social worker, understands me so well, when she emailed me the foster mums contact details she told me not to worry about the foster family, they are being supported through the whole process, yes it would in some ways be very sad but the team deal with these situations on a regular basis.

Last night I spoke to child 4 foster mum for the first time, and she sounded lovely, normal just like a mum from the playground. We shared our family lifestyle with each other and we sound similar in outlook. She was pleased that a family had been found for this little man, one with a brother and sisters and a menagerie of animals. She is happy to answer all my questions, to stay in touch to support child 4 and us through this transition. It would be lovely if they could remain as a kind of auntie, uncle type relationship.

My fears are slowly diminishing as I am beginning to realise that in the best of circumstances the foster mum and I could become friends and perhaps I should have more faith in my ability to love and raise an adopted child.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

What does adoption mean to me

" To take into one's family through legal means and raise as one's own child"

We have spent a year learning as much as we can about adoption, we have attended courses, had frequent social worker visits and read huge numbers of books and studies about how adoption works, why it is necessary and all the types of behaviours we may come across with our adopted child. We are continuing this journey with our eyes wide open. When we were at panel and told that the panel members had unanimously said that we were suitable for adopting, it was like passing  A levels all over again, just this time it won't be just a certificate that we will receive, but also a little person.  As part of the adoption journey we have learned about behaviours that could manifest within adopted children and have taken part in a course on therapeutic parenting to help deal with them in the most positive way. In fact there are on going courses and support networks for all those involved in adoption, my mum is going to attend a therapeutic parenting course with me, so that we can offer our little man the best and most consistent start possible.

Everyone, we have met within the adoption process have said that our knowledge of adoption is fantastic, our social worker truly believes that we will be "good at adoption" our understanding of adoption will make us strong advocates for any child placed with us.

There is just one person within our extended family support unit who is anti us adopting. I know that one negative voice out of the many positive ones should be easy to ignore but this voice has the ability to hurt so much. Perhaps it's because our little boy who is yet to arrive is actually already our child in our hearts. At the moment we are preparing his bedroom and when up in the attic earlier this week, I found a box full of the nursery curtains, cot bumpers and blankets that have been used by all the children in the family. I have spent this week washing them all. Anyone who has had more than one baby will know the feeling of love and excitement you get when hanging expectant baby stuff on the washing line. 

For me these last weeks truly feel like the last trimester of pregnancy, the excitement, the nesting, the worries of coping. The anticipation of  a new baby surrounds the whole family and our community. I am surrounded by people who want to be involved, they want to throw baby showers and I think are definitely as excited as we are about the prospect of a new member of the family. Some have said that they couldn't adopt, it's just not in their make up but, they think that it's amazing that we want to and they support us whole heartedly.

This individual seems incapable of understanding that child 4 means exactly the same to us as child I,   2 and 3. Would this person be saying these hurtful comments about our son if I was carrying him in pregnancy? No, of course not. But those comments are effecting us as if they were. I wish there was some way to explain how we feel but this individual is not listening to us, they have for now,made up their mind. 

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Raindrops on Roses and Whiskers on Kittens

The whole room lit up, just like someone had aimed stage lights directly into our bedroom. I woke with a start, then thought "bugger, what windows have been left open" the lightening flashed again and again. Footsteps echoed in the hallway as child 3 threw herself in through the bedroom door and into our bed pulling the covers over her head. Child 2 put his head around the door to say "have you seen the lightening? its amazing" he headed back to his room to watch the weather display from his bedroom window. Then, yes you guessed it, child 1 who is 14 came in, "can I sleep with you I don't like it." Husband of course took one look at our now very cramped looking bed and moved out to child 3s now empty bed leaving me with two diva type girlies hiding under the covers from the thunder and lightening.

Although I can identify with the Maria from "How do you solve a problem like Maria" I would love to climb a tree so encourage my children too do so and anyone who has seen my 3 after a visit to the Secret Garden will know that I believe a filthy exhausted child is the sign of a happy child that has had a fabulous day out exploring without worrying about what mum will say when she see them again. I laugh too loud in church and have let all my children dance on the altar during mass, we often run late but all love eating especially with lots of other people. There is nothing better than a bring a plate of food party. In fact we all love any type of party! Also I would love to be described as a wave on the sand or a moonbeam.

Unfortunately or fortunately I am not sure which, I cannot sing, so for me to sing and dance my way through an impressive thunderstorm like Maria is an experience my children will never have to endure. Of which I am sure they are all eternally grateful for. However, I am pleased that they still like to seek the safety of our bed from the monsters of the night.

We may need to get a bigger bed though, what with number 4 on the way.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Take a banana

It's been so hot and the children's staple diet seems to be barbecue, ice cream and ice lollies with an occasional bit of salad. They are certainly not eating their 5 a day fruit and veg.  The fruit that I put in the lunch boxes returns to me bruised and mushy so time to improvise.

The leftover bananas of the week have now got that brown freckly skin, which means that only Dad will eat them, it's too hot to bake banana bread and anyway I'm out of eggs. We've lost a couple of chickens to the heat and the remaining one is refusing to lay - can't really blame her.

Back to the bananas, this has to be one of the easiest and bestest banana recipe I have ever made. It's loosely based on an ice cream I ate 8 years ago when in Disney Florida. Take what ever bananas you have, very ripe are the best but those just turned yellow ones will do in an emergency. Slice them how you like or leave them whole. Place them on a greaseproof paper on a baking tray then place them in the freezer. Today I covered them in melted chocolate before freezing I have also coated them in melted chocolate and nuts, how about popping candy, Waitrose sells chocolate covered popping candy. Of course hundreds and thousands or chocolate strands would be great too.

I should have taken a picture before the freezing because my family of locusts devoured them the minute they saw me take them out of the freezer!

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Parish Life

 This morning 10 of us headed out to help one of our parishioners with their garden. The sun was shining, the sky was blue and we had a boot load of cold water, cans of pop, homemade tortilla and almond cherry cake to see us through. Dressed for all contingencies we were in sturdy boots and long trousers to protect our legs and solid gardening gloves to deal with nettles and thistles.

We arrived at this lovely country spot, a cottage surrounded by green farm land where cows were ambling around with their calves in a nearby field. Our first job was to move a pile of rubble into a skip, one of the men set up a plank leading into the skip so we could supposedly easily move the rubble in, haha a seesaw involving a wheel barrow full of rubble, I'll let you picture that!

Then we stopped for the best ever coffee and tortilla. Hard hot work makes you very hungry. The guvnor Mr B soon had us working again this time in the barn sorting, clearing and tidying. We worked hard and were very proud of the end result as was our parishioner friend. 10 people with 2 hours could achieve a lot!

We decided that we had time for a swift drink at a local public house, one where we were unlikely to be recognised, well we weren't dressed for company, before heading back to our families. A perfect end to a tough yet productive morning.

Friday, 19 July 2013

The closing of a door

"We'll mum, I'm not a year 7 anymore" child 2 announced when I got home from work.

We were off to a leaving party this evening, one of the families from school are returning back to their roots far away in the land of Oz. We along with many others went to a party to celebrate the memories of many a good time and to hope for many more memories to be made.

Is it weird that we celebrate beginnings and endings? Births, baptisms and weddings are happy beginnings and end of year celebrations, leaving parties and funerals are celebrations of what has been.

I am always a little sad at the end of the school year, it's the sign of another year passing where our children are becoming more independent, more self aware and more self confident. Although I know that I moaned about the dependency of the children when they were little, I do really miss it. Child 1 doesn't want many cuddles anymore and when she does they are always on her terms. Child 2 is ready to move from being a little one at secondary school to taking his place in year 8, he is much more self assured and confident than he was a year ago. Child 3 thinks she is 14, so honestly does not understand why she can't do exactly what she wants, when she wants. None of them crawl into my lap when they are tired and curl themselves into me, listening to me chat away to my friends, letting the chatter lull them to sleep. No they are all off playing, only returning for a drink or something to eat.

There is no choice when it comes to growing up and moving on, time ticks on by whether we like it or not, really we should embrace it, enjoying our children at the stage they are at encouraging them to take the next step towards teenage angst and then adult hood.

Instead of dwelling on the past, I will remember it, no doubt with rose tinted glasses, and move to the next stage. After all in a few months I will have a little one hopefully content enough within our family to be able to crawl into my lap and sleep.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

A G & T evening

It gets to that time in the evening when it's cooler outside than in, so mixing up a very tall and cold gin and tonic over ice with a slice of lime I head out into the garden, firstly to water the vegetables and then to sit and enjoy the cool evening in peace. Child 3 is at last asleep, she has found it hard to settle in the heat.

We live in a really quiet area and its so nice to sit in a calm and peaceful setting. As I settle I realise that I can hear birds, baby birds murmuring close by. Not long ago I saw a blackbird collecting materials to build his nest in our laburnum tree well this little chaps babies have hatched and they were calling for mummy and daddy.  Their chirping made me smile, it won't be long and our new little one will be here, no doubt interrupting my peaceful evenings but also laughing and running around our garden making some chirping of his own.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

A long walk home

As usual I was late collecting Child 3 from school, Dylan the dog was having too much fun running around the field with a tennis ball in his mouth. What is with our dog? He loves tennis balls, he loves chasing tennis balls he just doesn't bring them back.

Anyway, back to my little story, child 3 was waiting for me at the door of her classroom all ready to head home. We collected the dog and started the fairly short walk home, but as we crossed the road, child 3 spots a tiny ladybird, who she so very gently gathered up into her hand and informed me that she wanted to keep her as a pet and that her name was Spot. Oh and she's not a girl she's a boy so there are no babies to fly away home too.

Carrying a ladybird home is a slow and steady process, I had to keep stopping allowing her to catch up, she looked like an angel the sun behind her, lighting her hair up like a halo. She walked deliberately, so carefully one foot gently after the other. Talking very very quietly to her ladybird promising to take good care of him. Remembering that her lunch bag was full of empty boxes she stopped, rooted one out and with the greatest of care allowed the ladybird to crawl off her hand into the box and then adding handfuls of grass and leaves she put the lid on and caught up with me, walking a little bit faster at last.

When we finally reached home she added cucumber and water to the box. After an ice lolly, child 3 decided that really her ladybird should be free so she put the lidless box outside amongst the geraniums and fuchsias that fill a stone pot by the front door.

When I returned home from my governors meeting the ladybird was still there, maybe he wants to stay as child 3's pet.

Monday, 15 July 2013

How many emotions in one week?

This time last week I was stressing whilst listing all the jobs around the house I had to do before two social workers visited, one of whom was visiting on behalf of a potential adoptee the other was our social workers team leader because our wonderful lady was on holiday. I rewrote the list four times knowing that I had to prioritise which floors I could wash as they were arriving at 11am aaah!

This was followed by the emotional exhaustion of having been on display, trying to show what wonderful parents we could be if given the chance. Then having to wait for judgement by a lady who has only met us for three or maybe four hours (she would have seen our humongous prospective adopters report though)

On Thursday I was dropping my mum home after our fitball class, I had literally pulled up outside her house when my phone rang - an unknown number- the hairs on the back of my neck prickled. Was this the call? Laying my hand on my mums arm (my mum was with me through the labours of my three birth children) to stop her from leaving the car. I was told that they wished "to proceed", congratulations were given and the ok to tell child 1,2 &3. My mum who had watched my three come in to the world was there to when the approval of number 4 was given. Silent tears tracked down my cheeks, I really couldn't believe what had happened.

Then there was the decision to be made as to when to tell the children and family and friends, we decided to wait, hard going I know but the priority had to be the children. Oh the emotions on Friday, the worry, the happiness, the excitement. Hearts pounding, tears streaming, laughter and raised voices.

The hugs, congratulations and more tears from family and friends as the children spread the good news.

Now we have the practical preparations to make but I can make them, smiling quietly to myself because a little tow-headed boy now fills my thoughts and dreams of the future. I can see him running in the garden, learning to ride  a bike with his big brother, blow bubbles with his big sister and be read to by his bigger sister. I am not foolish enough to think that life will be perfect but I know that it will be good.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Our first step!

Ok the social worker called yesterday afternoon to gives us the verdict following Tuesdays meeting. Its a YES! I keep wanting to call them back to check that I heard right, I mean I know that they said yes, they have given us matching panel dates and the ok to tell the children but I still can't quite believe it, I am going to be a mummy again.

We decided that as Thursday night was really busy, show rehearsals and choir practice that we would tell the children after the school barbecue tonight. Whilst a really really filthy child 3 sat in the bath we gathered around and asked the children how they would feel about having a brother a two year old little brother.

There were gasps and tears lots and lots of tears. Child 3 was hysterical sobbing her heart out and for a few seconds my heart nearly stopped, what had I done? Then a cacophony of voices began, what's his name? when will we get him? can I tell Nanna, Auntly ......, uncle...... ,our closest friends? Child 3's hysteria calmed enough for me to understand "mummy I am so happy I can't stop crying"

They then fought for the phones and the IPad to contact those they love to share the news, many more tears were to follow not just from us but from those who were lucky enough to be contacted. I spent the next hour following up the calls my emotional children made to help make sense of what was happening and when. Then they were arguing over who would bath him, who would put him to bed who would chose the stroller and the car seat. Who would tell who tomorrow, Sunday and at school on Monday. Then child 2 and 3 hunted through the toy boxes hunting out all the Thomas the Tank toys to put in child 4's bedroom ready for when he arrives.

How proud a parent am I, child 4 is already wanted and wished for, not only the children will be counting the days until he arrives- sometime towards the end of September (fingers crossed)

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Meet the parents

Common practice, if circumstances allow is for the prospective adopters to meet the birth parents. This gives the adopters the opportunity to ask some questions about the birth parents and their child, the birth parents can ask questions and be reassured that their child is being placed with "normal" people not monsters with two heads. Often a photo will be taken of both sets of parents which for the child shows continuity and links their two families for them.

The questions to ask are ones that the child will need answers to, so I am much more aware of what my children ask me.

What cravings did you have when you were pregnant with me?
What was your labour like?
Why did you name me?
Why are my eyes blue, yours are brown?
What was my first word?
When did I walk, crawl, laugh?
Favourite colours, music, lessons at school, music, books, talents.
Are there family traditions, talents, funny stories or happy memories?

All this information will help our number 4 to know who they are and where they come from, it may sound scary and hard for us to do but I am sure that the benefits of meeting the birth parents will far out weigh our nerves. In fact I worry that I won't ask enough questions!

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

One step at a time.

I feel so tired that I can't function properly. I am glad that the next three days are full to the brim with working, sports day, end of year barbecue and taxi-ing children around. It means that I haven't got time to think, to mull things over too much or to imagine a possible future with a little tow-headed two year old boy.

I daren't think to much or I may start to make plans, I need to take one day at a time, one step at a time. I need to get through tomorrow knowing that the social worker that we met today will be speaking to her team leader. We will know by Friday at the latest if we are suitable for this little boy.

If we're not suitable we will have to take it on the chin and start again. If we are suitable then we prepare for the next step.  I am not even really sure what the next step will be, having decided to literally take everything a step at a time. Now sitting here writing this I wonder if I should know more but I am to scared to consider the next steps in case we aren't suitable!

Monday, 8 July 2013

Washing on the line

Last night, when I climbed into bed the sheets smelled of summer, I had washed them first thing in the morning and then hung them outside on the washing line to dry, there is something so special about drying the washing,especially the bed sheets, outside in the sunshine and then remaking the bed so that the whole room smells of cool breezes and summer.

Often when I hang the washing out on a beautiful morning I am transported to Cephalonia Greece and Captain Corelli's Mandolin, there is a scene in the movie where Pelagia (Penelope Cruz) is hanging out her washing, her line of course strung up between two olive trees, against the back drop of a beautiful cloudless azure-blue sky. I know that the film is set during the occupation of Greece during the Second World War but I love this scene of peaceful domesticity.

When child 3 was tiny and very very demanding I would love those moments of hanging out the washing, my head for a short while belonging to me, the sun on my face and a cool breeze rippling past giving me a moment to calm myself  to realign my thoughts, ready for when I returned to the house to once again belong to someone else.

With the, hopefully, imminent arrival of number 4 I think that I need to take full advantage of those on my own moments whether it be hanging out the washing, doing the food shopping, reading a book whilst   eating my lunch or just the walking the dog as I think or rather I know, those on my own moments are going to be fewer than they ever have been before, for the coming weeks and months.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

A Parish Fete

This time of year is full of  fetes, parish, village and school fetes all raising money for a multitude of different things. There is something very English about a parish fete, in your mind you think of  sunshine, blue skies, bunting, hay bales, cream teas, homemade cakes and ice-cream, bouncy castles and old fashioned games.  It's the nostalgia I think, something that reminds us of less complicated times. I often find that we seem so busy, working, transporting children to different clubs and activities just constantly on the go and although a fete often means baking lots of cakes and biscuits it also means that for an afternoon we will all kind of stop and spend time with people.

 After the children have emptied my purse, they head off for the school playing field to get their faces painted and their bodies tattooed, (temporary ones of course) as the weather is so amazing the water games are the busiest. Meanwhile my mum, friends and I man the cake stall. The green covered tables were heavily laden with homemade cakes, biscuits and pies donated by members of our community.

I love manning a stall, it's an opportunity to catch up with your fellow stall holders and a chance to see people you've not seen in ages because they are no longer in the playground or haven't been to mass for a while. It's one of those famous five moments, a chapter from a story book from my childhood. A time to be part of something bigger than just yourself and you family.

If you have the opportunity to be involved in your local fete, go and enjoy. It will be worth it.

Friday, 5 July 2013

It's all in a name, or is it

This morning my husband shared with me the This Morning children's name debate "starring" Katie Hopkins of The Apprentice fame.


I am sure that most of you would have been as shocked as I was by the ignorance of this supposedly educated woman. However, whilest travelling down the road of adoption the issue of names has reared it's, possibly, ugly head. If you look at the Be My Parent website you can view a number of children looking to be adopted. I am sure that  KH would not consider spending time with many of them as they have names like Courtney, Amirha, Leevi, Trey, Aston, Daryce and Tyler.

We do/did have a concern about number 4s name, would it fit in with our family? On the other hand names are important to us as they are part of who we are and where we come from. If we chose to change our number 4's name are we not taking something away from them or denying them part of their heritage? As this child grows up will he/she feel that we were rejecting his/her birth parents or history. Their birth parents chose that name for a reason so if we do have the opportunity to meet the birth parents I think that it would be a good idea to ask them why that name? Is it a family name or does it have a special meaning?

Occasionally, adopted children's names are changed, usually only to protect them. The general advice is for them to keep their name, after all it is theirs. I think we are lucky because children invariably have ways of resolving these things, if our number 4's name is too outlandish or odd in our eyes, one of our 3 will shorten it or re-invent it keeping the heritage and history but adding a twist of our own making it fit with us.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Potty mouth children

"Daddy is "Feck" a rude word.?"  Dad explained that it wasn't  a nice word to use, and asked where child 3  had heard it. "Oh one of Mummy's friends says it all the time" yes you know who you are!

Sugar Honey Ice Tea (thank you Madagascar) is another favourite method of swearing that can be heard in our house, although if its completely ignored it does seem to stop.

When I was a child a common punishment for swearing was to wash the culprits mouth out with soap and water, something that is not seen as appropriate these days, so how do we deal with it. There really is nothing worse that hearing children and teenagers swearing.

Not so long ago I received a text from my brother, informing me that my child 2 had taught his 9 year old daughter the C word and he didn't mean crap as my son tried really really hard to persuade me. Yep I'm no fool. Child 2s consequence was clean the toilets (very appropriate for his potty mouth) and then had the choice to phone my brother and apologise or write him a letter. Guess which one my son chose?

Oh and he hasn't sworn since!


We have blackbirds nesting in our garden. This morning when I went out to let my girls out of  their hen house a blackbird caught my eye, he was sitting perched on the edge of one of our raised beds his beak stuffed full of dried grass. I spooked him as I walked up the path sending him careening into the laburnum bush that sits at the top of our garden. I could hear him chattering away to his mate as I re-entered the house, where the kettle had finished boiling. My first cup of tea, fabulous.
Whilest my tea steeped I stood watching out of the window and saw my little blackbird again collecting more grass for his nest. Back and forth he went industriously collecting any suitable materials that he could find.

We've been nesting here a bit, clearing out the study, painting the walls a soft green, putting up a blackout blind. We've stripped and painted an old wardrobe and had a new storage bed delivered. Not that we've put it together yet, as now there is a possibility that number 4 may need to sleep in a cot. We have my old cot in the attic. It's the cot that I, my sister, my brother then child 1,2 and 3 have all slept in.  An item of furniture that I hope will become an heirloom to be passed onto my children for my grandchildren in the future.  Whether they are biologically mine or not.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Charity really does begin at home.

Husband and child 1 have just returned home from a weekend of festive living at Glastonbury. Both of them are exhausted and of course grubby and grumpy, but full of all the bands and sights that they have seen. This was child 1's first foray into the miniature city that is the Glastonbury Festival, but it is not just about Noah and The Whale, Two Door Cinema Club, Primal Scream and Mumford and Sons it was for her a coming of age experience. When they first arrived child 1 was nervous and clingy, by Saturday she was off with her friends keeping in contact with the parents via text.

Like most teenagers she understood the lay of the land very quickly, recognising landmarks and so enabling her to find her way around the huge site with confidence.

Glastonbury isn't just about the bands and the music it also provides a voice to Greenpeace, Oxfam, Water Aid and many other charities including numerous local ones, in fact much of the stewarding is provided by local schools and charitable organisations, where those involved earn their schools and organisations much needed funds and get to spend a weekend of working and playing hard on site.

Much of the profit is handed over to these charities year in year out and everywhere you go on site there are reminders of the amazing work some of these charities do. There is a field dedicated to Greenpeace, and there is a major presence all over the green fields from Oxfam and Water Aid. In between sets the huge screens share the reasons as to why we should support these charities.


Somewhere, a Steven Biddulph book no doubt, I have read the importance of our children seeing us support movements that stand up for the environment and human rights as this will encourage them to think about the whole world that surrounds them, not just their local neighbourhood (which in our case is pretty much white middle class). This in turn will help them to grow into strong, individuals whonot only have a good moral compass but will also know when it is time to stand up and be counted.

Glastonbury Festival I think tries to provide a green and Eco friendly environment full of excitement, entertainment and pleasure which for helping in the education of our children is a good thing.

Just to share child 1's quotes of the weekend include
In an attempt to skive off school on the Friday "Mum what is one day of learning in comparison to a lifetime of memories."
To get to the front of the crowd when watching The Arctic Monkeys "Excuse  me but I've lost my mum, can I get past to look for her"
When Dad texted her Sunday morning " R U up" her response was "No"