29 September 2013

jobs are back in fashion

mere hours old, and after a 4-day induction, I am never going to forget when she was born!
I have had The Letter. The DWP have written to tell me that my child will be 5 soon (gee, thanks, without you telling me I might have forgotten!) and that I will be taken off income support at that point and will have to apply for JSA. Great. I am so looking forward to that. Not.
And why do I have to apply again? Surely I should just be moved onto it... Although, they have also stated in the letter that I may not be entitled to it, so that's probably why. As far as I know I am, but it's enough to make you nervous... And I really don't want to be on JSA, they make you feel so shit about being unemployed. Like it's some sort of choice you've made.
I would love not to have lost my job (that I hated and didn't *actually* plan on going back to) but I did. And then because I happened to lose my job/have a baby at almost the exact same moment as the recession hit in 2008, finding another one was suddenly impossible.
My plan had been to have madam and at the end of my maternity leave go back to a part-time job. Now, that would have been impossible where I did work as I couldn't have had hours that would have fitted in with childcare hence why I was always going to leave. But this was different. There were no jobs in the town where I lived. And I don't mean that as some sweeping generalisation. There were none. ALL the biggest employers had either closed or laid off everyone except the bare minimum.
There was no seasonal work as no-one was going anywhere as no-one had any money. Scarborough died in 2008. It was awful. Anyone with a job held onto it with both hands, no matter what it was. Not even K could get work. And he'd worked everywhere in that town. He ended up doing the odd night on a door in Driffield, but that was it.
So we moved back to Beverley. And I still miss Scarborough all the time. I sometimes wonder about moving madam and I back there, one (well, actually both) of her godmother's live there. I have friends with small kids, it's small enough for me to not feel intimidated like I do in cities, but bigger than here. The reason I don't is the exact reason we left.
There is nowhere else locally. Nowhere bigger anyway. The nearest cities are Hull and York, both about an hour away. So living back in my home town where Hull is just a 20min bus ride away is much better for me, jobwise. And Scarborough is still a seasonal town. Jobs are mostly service based and if you're one of the unlucky ones there will be no work in the off-season. Zero hours contracts are the absolute norm.
I can't live like that, certainly not now I have madam and that we're on our own. Actually, financially the being on our own bit makes little difference as K quite happily left me to pay the majority of everything even when we were together. He used to give me £75 a week, which he cut down to £40 without any thought of how little money that would leave me with.
This is another form of domestic abuse that I *actually* didn't really understand about until after we broke up. That control he had over money was another way of making me the weaker partner. Most of my debt issues started from there. I couldn't keep up with all our bills etc, and after I lost my job it just went into freefall.
Sorry, should have put a trigger warning on that last statement. For me if for no-one else. I have had to take a short break to calm myself down. So angry that he controlled me in so many ways and that I didn't even recognise it.
Domestic abuse makes you feel stupid.
Sorry, back to me getting a job... I am staying put in Bev as I am better placed to get a job as there is a big city and several biggish villages/smallish towns around and about for me to plum(b?) for jobs... But I do keep seeing photos of the seaside and wishing I was there...
But now I have to get serious about my job searching and start treating it as a job rather than a past-time. I would still prefer to only work part-time so that I could do the school run, but am aware that that is unlikely to happen. I am incredibly glad that mum and dad are local and I can rely on them to do that bit for me if I can't! But I don't want them to have to do it every day. And I'd like not to work weekends if at all possible, which would be something of a novelty as every job I've ever had has involved weekend working.
This is why I want to work in schools. I am considering applying for everything from dinner lady (person) up. I would love to not be reliant on the government for all the money I have. I would like for K to bother giving me some child support *laughs so hard there are tears in my eyes*. He won't. But he should. I don't get how any man (or woman) can just walk away from their child without it seeming to bother them in the slightest. How do you not care where they're getting food, warmth, shelter and clothing from?
I apparently, am a fool for caring about my offspring. 
But I am terrified with how I'm going to get on with all the form filling I'm about to start having to do. Let alone my lack of interview skills. I am so bad at interviews... I hate selling myself. Perhaps I should include a link to my blog in my applications! No, then they might realise I'm crazy...
I have managed to get myself a few smart clothes that would be suitable to wear to an interview and I know if I do get a chance to work in a school I have some experience with the age range. I just feel like I'm floating around grabbing at something to anchor me. I am so afraid of returning to that environment, even though it's what I need. 
Days are long now that madam is at school properly. Time to colour in the hours we're apart so that we can show each other our days over tea :)  

28 September 2013

round the world with an apple

Last night was Guides again and they were finishing off their clothes alteration projects. We also talked a bit about how their energy saving plans have been going. Quite well so far, but they still have another 3 weeks to keep it going.

They have to do another section on Our Food and we're starting by looking at food miles. I found a website that has a calculator on it which we might be able to use on my phone at the meeting. I have already been using it as we were interested in just how we get fresh apples from New Zealand and how far they have to travel.
I was quite disturbed by just how far they do travel as I always try and buy British so hadn't really thought about it. The guides are checking their cupboards and finding where the furthest thing they own comes from. We also asked them to find out where the country actually is so that they can explain it to each other.
And then we are going to eat chocolate! We have challenged them to bring in chocolate from as many countries as we can. Then, obviously, we'll have to taste test to see if we can taste the difference. :) I have banned them from bringing any of the regular brands such as Cadbury's and Galaxy etc. So, we'll see what we shall get. I will bring in a couple of South American ones to try, too...
We had a discussion about some of the challenges that some of the guides had done before the summer holidays and we agreed that we could set them another challenge with food soon. We're thinking of making chocolate truffles with them :) Or making food from around the world for a bring and share night.
We've also been planning some map skill work for them to do. I'm thinking of making them plot a route to a certain place and then being challenged to go to another once they get there. In a sort of treasure hunt type thing. Getting the guides out and about and enjoying themselves is the key to keeping our unit going, I feel.

26 September 2013

A Foxy Little Number

Ever since this months issue (10) of Simply Crochet dropped through my letterbox madam has been hankering for me to make her the little fox coin purse featured on the front cover (it is unbelievably cute!).
I went out and bought myself some yarn from Boyes as I did want to keep the fox colours as Fox is my mother's maiden name and I have a bit of a thing for them. But you could very easily make it with whatever DK yarn you have...
I got home and then couldn't find the box with my crochet hooks in. It wasn't in my pile of crap that lives on the sofa (even after I tidy it all off it resurfaces moments later). It wasn't in the front room that is now kind of my craft room. I did look in a few other places, but no. Yesterday, I thought, well I haven't tried the big storage ottoman which is where the box officially should be. And yup, there it was, in the proper place, no wonder I couldn't find it!
I rummaged through it knowing that I have at least one 3.5 hook, but it wasn't there! Brilliant, all that searching and I still didn't have the hook I needed. I gave up and bought another one yesterday so that I could just get on with it. They are only a pound!
I started when we got in from school and after doing the first segment twice (I didn't like how it had crocheted up and decided to re-jig the pattern so I could make it more even). I really didn't do anything exciting, just decided to always start the row with an increase and not alternate as the pattern said to do. I found that when I ended a row on an increase and then started the next row with one, one side of my fabric was a lot tighter than the other.
By making the increases always at the start (and keeping the spacing to pattern) I solved the problem. It may just be how I crochet, but perhaps worth keeping in mind if you decide to make it yourself.
So I made the two sections for the pocket, crocheted them together and started on the flap/head section. It was only when reading the pattern for the head when I realised I had missed an instruction for the pocket.
I went back and unpicked my seam, corrected the mistake by just undoing my ends (I was so glad I hadn't finished the pieces properly yet!) and reattaching my yarn and going form there. Then I re-seamed and added on the head piece.
The ears were made up in moments and I added those on and sewed in all my ends etc. I added a cute vintage style button I had for the nose and I'm deciding whether to surface crochet the eyes on as suggested or use some little black buttons for it.
I also need to sew in a zip and then he's finished! He is for madam, but I love him so much I really want to keep him! I am also very tempted to give him a Sir Didymus style moustache and eye patch! Maybe if I make one for me I shall do that :)
For madam I might add on a strap so that she can wear it more as a little bag as she would love that.
And here he is, step by step. I got rid of the photos of the sections I did wrong! These are just what it *should* look like, if you actually read all the instructions carefully! And I don't think you can see where I had to join in the yarn, bonus :)
back of pocket

front of pocket

the two halves seamed together (it's invisible from the front)

head section

head attached to pocket

ears to be attached, ends to be sewn in


25 September 2013

Labyrinthine Fun :)

Last night was the first ever We Watch Films Classic Movie Tuesday event. And it was one of my all-time favourite films, Labyrinth!
I managed to persuade a rather reluctant H (she had been scared by it as a child) that what she wanted to do with one of her precious days off was drive all the way to my house and go and watch a film she was wary of... Although, she didn't take lots of persuading, it has to be said!
She arrived on Monday afternoon. Earlier than I had thought she would, but that was even better. We got to surprise madam by having her auntie pick her up from school with mummy. Much more fun than normal!
We then got to spend the afternoon/some of the evening actually building the bed H would sleep in, but we did manage to do it pretty easily and with no swearing. Organising everything at the beginning probably helped that process... (H is an expert flat-pack builder, she should hire herself out!)
Yesterday, after dropping madam at school we went into town to get ourselves a mask each for the masquerade theme of the evening. Now, I hadn't *actually* mentioned that there was a theme. Or a fancy dress element. Or a competition... But we had decided on posh frocks and adding a mask is fairly harmless! And once we were there and had seen some of the other costumes, it seemed awfully tame!
Having bought plain masks we then had to decorate them. This was achieved with glittery mosaic stickers, gloopy glue and some glitter :) Crafty goodness on a Tuesday afternoon, nice :) Only, I don't have the gloopy glue, it lives at my parents house, so we dropped in on my dad for an hour and had fun doing sticking! Also, H got to admire his marine tank...
We picked madam up from school, got ready and went out almost as soon as my dad came through the door to babysit! This in itself was a surprise as I thought it would be mum, but who cares as long as someone supervises the 4yr old it's all good!
We were a bit early getting to the cinema, but there were a few people already there and we found Paul, who had organised the night, quite easily. He did appreciative admiring of our mask making and we all agreed the masks were much more annoying than we had anticipated! Mine was made worse by the fact I had to take my glasses off to wear it. I can see clearly for about 6 inches in front of my face without them. Excellent...
I gave up before we went into the cinema and had to put my glasses back on. But not before the official photographer had taken our photo! Before the film started there was the judging. And the top 6 costumes were called to the front. I was slightly sad that the guy who had dressed as one of the door knockers didn't make the line up.
We did an incredibly scientific cheering and clapping scoring system and the winner was deemed to be a young boy. This meant that the girl who had dressed as Sir Didymus got second place... But you can't win against a child! She was given free tickets to next months showing as a consolation... (But she was my favourite).
And so what is next months film? The big reveal was before the film started when we played the official trailer. And it was for Ghostbusters! A totally appropriate Halloween type film. H has vetoed it, so I might have to go to this one alone. But as the We Watch Films guys are like one big family, it wouldn't be too bad if I did. And I have always wanted to watch that on the big screen too! 

22 September 2013

biblical unicorns

I was at church this morning. It's the first time we've been since the start of summer as there is no Sunday school in the holidays and we've been otherwise occupied (wedding, hospital) since school has restarted. 
It was nice to be back and to chat with our friends there. One of the men that has been helping with the Sunday school has decided to go to theology college and become a fully fledged youth minister so he was telling us about how he made the decision and why. It was nice to be able to hear someone speak so passionately about something that they obviously care deeply about.
We sang a few hymns and one in particular resonated with me. After A had told us about how he heard his "calling" we sang a song about responding to the Lords call. Now, I'm not a majorly religious person, but for some reason the chorus made me cry. I am capable of crying over adverts and The Simpsons, so it's not particularly unusual for me. But it made me wonder again about my own faith.
I keep wondering what it is that drives me to go to church every week when I don't claim to be a religious person. Part of it is to do with the sense of community and belonging that I get from it. Important for someone who regularly feels lonely. I also know that people notice if I'm not there. I am often stopped in the street and people always ask after madam.
When we were in hospital last week I text one of the ladies who works on the family support team to ask her to put madam in the prayers for that week. She not only did that but also arranged for a wee present for madam to be posted through our door that was waiting for us when we got home. Its this level of thoughtfulness and caring that constantly surprises me. And then I think, why should it?
This is a church, this is what it is meant to do. Look after the members of its community, visit the sick and the elderly, be a family for those who need one. And I have never felt that so much from a church as I do from this one. I only really went back to church when I was pregnant with madam. I had always gone at Christmas as I love the whole shebang, the carols, the decorations, the sense of hope in the air.
But when I was pregnant I began to see myself in a different way. I realised just how incredible humans are (well, all animals really). I had very little input on what was going on inside me, it just went into autopilot and did it itself. I can see why some people may go the other way at this point and see it as proof of there being no God etc.
I guess it comes down to how I interpret the religious teachings I received in my youth. I, like madam, went to Sunday school every week until I was about 10. I was told all the bible stories and I paid very little heed to them. And then when we started to study science at school I was even more dubious about what religion had told me. I was as disinterested in church as pretty much every other teenager I know. The few services that I was made to go to seemed to be extremely long and very tedious.
What changed was when I became older still and learnt about our ancient storytelling traditions. How all our histories were told as stories. How they must have been made to be interesting so that people would listen and how they had messages and told truths.
I don't for a moment believe the world was made in 6 days, I pretty much haven't since I learnt about evolution. But the people who wrote the bible (and especially the very first parts of it) didn't know about it. And how do you explain to the uneducated masses about how it all came together. You make it simple, you make it understandable. You set it out in easy chunks. And no, of course there are no dinosaurs in the bible, no-one had ever heard of them.
There are unicorns though. Really. And they are mentioned on about 5 different occasions. For example: Isaiah 34:7 "And the unicorns shall come down with them, and the bullocks with the bulls; and their land shall be soaked with blood, and their dust made fat with fatness."
Yeah, so the bible is totes accurate and should be taken completely at face value. Give me a break! Its the people who insist upon it that need help! And we don't even have all of it. There are many more parts of it that have been deemed unsuitable by the Vatican. Why? Surely adding in as much as possible would help us to understand our religion more.
If you've ever watched the film "Stigmata" you'll have heard of the Gospel of Thomas. This is alleged to be Jesus' own words recorded by Didymos Judas Thomas. They make interesting reading, and if you are interested I've put a link here. The quote that the film made famous is actually from two separate parts of the scroll, so don't expect to find it verbatim!
I'm not sure I can explain why the church has come back into my life. It's an appreciation of a higher power (whatever that may be) and my need to feel that someone and something is watching over me. I know how much of a miracle a body can perform, I have held my new born child in my arms. And all I could think was how did I make something so amazing without even thinking about it! I have a feeling, someone else helped.
I know that a lot of people reading this might have no faith, so I apologise if this was all irrelevant to you. I know my belief is only mine. And I am just happy to have found it and that it brings me comfort in the dark places. If you want to challenge me or ask me questions you are, as always, welcome to. (but be nice or I won't answer! ;P)  

21 September 2013

internet tutorials are awesome!

Guides last night was a great success. We had everyone occupied and so busy that we lost track of the time and had to race to get finished on time.
We will be continuing the project next week. And will also be doing more badge work. Last night we had them talking about energy and they made a plan for themselves of ways they could save energy on a daily basis. I particularly liked the suggestion of one Guide who was going to attempt to get her mum to drink the coffee her dad makes in the morning rather than making a second one!
We also had the usual suggestions of watching less tv and then there was turning off wifi on the tablet so it would need charged less often. I think I can safely say that is new issue...
And then the fun began! We got out the t-shirts and I took some before photos (which I won't publish here as the Guides are in them). Then they were let loose with glue and needles, ribbons and net, and some very large scissors. I went to work on my own project. I cut my t-shirt into one big tube and then cut up through it, leaving a strip at the top.
My Guide leader was absolutely fascinated and could not see how it could possibly turn into a scarf. I ploughed on regardless. Next you pull each of the strips to get them to curl in on themselves. Gather the top together and secure it with some ribbon, or whatever et voila... I have one (fairly cool) scarf in less than half an hour :)
I like it so much I am actually wearing it today, too.
I'm going to re-do that ribbon later...
Next, I had to try out the whole "design on a piece of sandpaper" idea. The idea is that once the design is complete you can turn it over and iron it on to a t-shirt, or where ever. Again, much scepticism as to how it could possibly work. But it seems to be quite legit. There are loads of tutorials online about doing it.
So QM and I gave it a go. I drew a turtle and she tried a butterfly. The crayon seems to stay on top of the sand and I can see how, when I iron it, it'll be transferred. It's quite strange colouring onto sandpaper though, I can tell you.
I remembered to write backwards!
Madam is currently drawing her own design using some of the leftover supplies from last night. I'm not sure hers will work as well though...
As for today, well, it's pretty much back to normal. We went to the market this morning. Madam got a book and now we are waiting for dad to make us lunch. Which will be pie and beans, the same lunch he has had on a Saturday practically every week of his life! I did manage to get him onto quiche and a salad over the summer! Progress...
This afternoon I have to be domestic and get all madam's school things washed and organised for next week. She is still loving school just as much and had the added excitement of football skills practice yesterday morning. I think the main excitement in that was actually that she got to wear trackie bottoms to school instead of her uniform...

20 September 2013

Upcycling for the masses

As it's Friday, you get the now obligatory Guide related post! And I am really enthused about this weeks meeting. (Well, and terrified we won't have any guides turn up...) But lets stick with enthusiasm, shall we?
Oh, before I get started, madam has been to the GP and told that she is doing really well. She is just reducing the amount of puffs on her inhaler slowly now. (My friendly, tame pharmacist (Dad) is helping with that).
Ok, so Guides tonight... I found out last Friday that there is a competition running in conjunction with the Clothes Show Live and we could win a trip for our whole unit to go to the show! Brillbobs. All we need to do is take an old item of clothing and take a photo before doing anything to it and then one after we have repurposed/customised it to something we would wear now. Send it in by Sept 29th and Bob's your auntie!  
This is the kind of activity that totally excites me! I have spent the last couple of days gathering some great ideas on things the Guides could do including this awesome tutorial on how to turn a t-shirt into a scarf! I love it! I'm completely going to do this tonight with my t-shirt (cause you knew I'd be playing along, didn't you?!)
But I also found ways to add a design using wax crayons, sandpaper and an iron. And then there are all the normal things I might do, like adding material to turn it into a dress like Tabatha and I did for madam in the summer. Or adding pockets, a collar or an applique motif. Then, of course, there is good old tie-dye and dip dye. (Those will *not* be being done at the meeting!).
One of the Guides is going to turn her t-shirt into a skirt, which is a great idea. A couple were asking about customising old jeans and canvas shoes. I love that they all got behind the idea.
And, even better than the fact we might win a competition, the upcycling/repurposing counts towards the badge that QM and I had decided on for them to do over the term! How well planned of me was that!? We're doing the first activity from the first section of the badge and then we have to do 3 clauses. Upcycling is one clause covered.
And they won't even notice that they're doing it. Although, one of the Guides got *almost* as excited as me about the prospect of a badge! I'm such a badge nerd, and this is a great one as it's from WAGGS so it makes it a bit different.
I think the complete over-enthusiasm for it all on my part sort of rubbed off on the Guides too, which was nice. And even better was QM telling me to just plan and run it all and she'd help out if I needed. So I get to mostly be in charge, which I need for my warrant. Excellent.
See, I was going to tell you about all this at the weekend, but madam being so dramatically ill put paid to that!

a few of madam's customised things
I'm still trying to decide on birthday presents for her too, but she has managed to give me a couple of acceptable suggestions. She has announced that she would like some big girls Lego and also some Winnie the Witch books. I can cope with that...   

18 September 2013

and breathe...

Hello, my friends! I am still feeling wiped out so I shall try not to ramble on too much.
I had a good evening as madam seems to be back to sleeping well. She went to bed on time without too much of a fight as well. I wasn't sure if she would as she hasn't done anything to tire her out. But I suppose she must be feeling like me and just feel drained by the whole experience.
I've sent her to school this morning and will pick her up at lunch time as I don't want her to over-tire herself. She was really pleased to be going back this morning and I have wrapped her in plenty of layers so that she doesn't get cold. Not that I am being a panicky mummy or anything, oh no...
But I just have that image in my head of her gasping for breath (bit like my dad's fish did in the summer...) and I know that they would never let that happen, but it's one of things that I can't un-see. And I will always be more aware of what could happen. The school told me they would check on her at playtime (remember how good playtime was!) and let me know if she looked like she might be struggling/tiring. No one has rung and playtime must be about over (it's 10.30am *now*) so she must be ok :)
Being protective mummy has meant I made her wear her hat and gloves to school, she also has on the lovely padded jacket that friend E passed us down from her little girl. I did iron in a name label, but I hate doing it onto fleece as it always ruins a little bit of it. Never mind. One small patch of non-fleecy will not affect her at all, just me and my perfectionism that don't like it!
I want to put her gloves on elastic as it makes life so much easier, but last year she just kept pulling them out of her coat and refused to wear the elasticated ones... Her independent streak can be infuriating! But I shall consult with her and see if she'll let me this year. They're really nice fleece lined ones and I don't want her losing them.
I got the new issue of Simply Crochet magazine yesterday and I have been prevailed upon to make the little fox purse out of it for a certain someone! I think I might make the granny square scarf for myself (though maybe substitute the pink) as the scarf I started I'm not sure I like as much as I thought I would... Although the scarf/hood on the cover is quite tempting too!
I keep looking at the time as I'm paranoid about picking madam up! It's not even 11... Might just go to Boyes and look at yarn first ;)
the happiness hamster!

17 September 2013

a rather different weekend than planned

I am exhausted! I have had possibly the most worrying weekend of my entire life and we're still coping with the fall out now.
It started off so well. I went to Guides as normal on Friday evening and came back really positive about what we're doing over the next half term. Madam had been coming down with a cold most of the week. Same as ever when we start a new term! I have it as well, she's so good about sharing!
Anyway, I came back on Friday evening to find her fast asleep on my mum and the news that she'd thrown up all over my dad. Oh dear. She was prodded and made to wake up so that we could go back to our house. But she made a massive fuss and we decided that if she went straight to sleep we would stay the night. And she did, though we noticed she seemed quite chesty and a bit wheezy when we put her down.
At 5 in the morning my mum prodded me awake and told me that an ambulance was coming as madam was having difficulty breathing. I got up and went into my parents room where she was propped up in bed and was obviously struggling for every breath. Not good at all. Mum said she'd got into bed with them and was puffing and panting so much they'd phoned 111 to get some advice. The lady had asked to listen to her and decided to send out the ambulance.
And we got two! The first one arrived shortly and explained that a warning light had just come on and that another bus was coming to *actually* take us to the hospital. They checked madam over and put her on a nebuliser and asked her to recite a nursery rhyme to check how she was doing. She sang Humpty Dumpty but could barely get to the end of the sentence without gasping for breath.
We got taken into the ambulance (the new one) and blue-lighted to the Hull Royal Infirmary. Madam was a little upset she didn't get the sirens, but we explained they only use those when the traffic is busy. Which it is not at half past 5 in the morning.
We got to the hospital for about 6 and were admitted to A&E. We waited there until 9 and then got moved to the children's A&E as that was now opened. From there things moved much faster (the main A&E was stacked to the rafters, bless them, they were so good with her).
The children's A&E gave her 10 puffs on a Salbutamol inhaler at 9.15am and sent her up to PASSU (Paediatric Assessment Unit). They assessed her again at about 11.30am and despite the fact madam was leaping about and destroying the triage room the Doctor said she was still really working for every breath and she was given another 10 puffs. We were told that until she could go 4 hours between treatments she wouldn't be going home.
So they found us a bed and madam some lunch and we settled down to wait. Well, I did. Madam doesn't understand the concept of resting so went off to cause chaos with anything possible. At 2pm they came back again and decided she needed another 10 puffs. She also got a dose of steroids which apparently, tasted vile (Mummy smirking may have happened).
They wanted to leave her 4 hours and said they would come back at 6 to reassess and then we might be able to go home. Due to a bit of a mix up in communication she was given another 6 puffs at about 4.30. We then had to wait until about 8 for the Doctor to come around to her. He said he was thinking that she might need to stay but that with another dose she might be able to go.
However, she fell asleep (passed out from exhaustion, you choose) before they could give her it. She was given her 10 puffs whilst she slept and put on a pulse ox monitor. It showed she was still struggling and they decided, to be on the safe side, we should go up to the children's ward and spend the night.
As it turned out it was a good job she stayed. They had her on a monitor and I could only watch as her oxygen saturation kept dipping down. They put her on the lowest rate of oxygen. It helped, for a while. And then she needed a bit more help. And then more. They put her back on nebulisers instead of the inhalers and she levelled out when they started her on 35% oxygen. Now, that much oxygen sounds very scary, and fortunately I didn't realise she was on that much at the time. I crept into the bed next to her and fell asleep because I was so tired.
Sunday morning
We were woken at 6am when she had another nebuliser and then... She was awake. And spent the rest of the day causing chaos and getting under the poor nurses feet. We finally managed to get her to 4 hours between inhalers though. They had said that if madam had a nap and they could monitor her breathing then we might be able to go home. But madam refused to settle until after tea. She dropped off for about an hour or so and so did I. Sadly it was too late and we were in for the night. Again. I have to say we both slept quite well. Tiredness overtook us both and we slept pretty much through until morning.
So, Monday morning when we woke up she had her inhaler and we were told that we would be going home as she'd had such a good night. Just had to wait for the Doctor to do his rounds and discharge us. We saw him about 10.30am and then had to wait for our discharge letter. But we left about 2pm. We went downstairs to the pharmacy as madam had another inhaler (the Salbutamol one still) to collect.
Then we just had to wait for my dad to pick us up. We sat in the foyer for a while and madam ended up wearing my coat and curled up under my chair fast asleep! No idea how she managed that. It was very noisy in the foyer, and I don't imagine the floor was very comfortable!. My dad had to pick her off the floor and carry her to the car. A nurse happened to walk past at that point and I think we slightly concerned her with what must have looked like a collapsed person on the floor. We reassured her she was just asleep and we finally left the hospital.
I was so glad to get her home and took the decision to keep her off school again today as she is still supposed to be resting and I don't think school is really the place to do that! She will go back tomorrow though as she has had another good night (and I expect her to again tonight). Her school are happy to give her her inhaler when she needs her dose and I think it'll do her good to try and get back to her routine.
I'm not sure I appreciate madam's propensity for being admitted to hospital, lets hope we'll not be back again for quite some time to come!  

12 September 2013

Guides, Rainbows and Birthdays

I'm feeling a little sorry for myself this morning. I have the start of a cold coming with it's annoying runny nose/watery eyes/fuzzy head fun. I should be used to it by now. Every time madam starts a new term at school she brings home a new cold. But it sucks.
I have been doing very little with myself in this new free time I now have (technically today is the first time I have *new* free time). But I have got back into doing some proper cooking. I love cooking but loathe doing it just for a small number of people. I have tried to combat this by using a bit of planning.
This week I bought a whole chicken and roasted it off yesterday. So we had a nice chicken dinner last night and I have half a carcass (well, plus a wing) left for today. And then I shall make stock with the leftovers :)
Now, this isn't exactly revolutionary. But usually I make extra helpings of things and then never really fancy eating the rest of it so it languishes in my freezer. Not really *actually* a money saver. But this technique means I will get 3 completely different meals out of what I bought! Genius. It's something I've been meaning to do for ages and then never quite getting around to it.
So tonight I will take the other half a chicken (possibly just the breast) and turn it into a chicken and mushroom pasta bake-type thing. Then I could make chicken soup. Which we can have on Saturday as mum makes tea for us on Fridays.
This Friday is the first one back at guides for this term. I'm excited to be going back, though worried there will be no guides left! I need to think of an activity to do with everyone that will be easy to do with a small (miniscule) number of people.
Before we broke up for summer we spent an evening making recycling boxes. We had the tables in a horseshoe for this activity. Usually each patrol sits around their own table. But I noticed how much better everyone was when they were closer together and, whilst we are so small, I wonder if we should keep the arrangement. We can always send them off to different areas if they need to work separately.
But I get the impression trying to break with tradition might not go down well! I'm also trying to persuade my mum to come in as a unit helper. She could just come once a month even. It would just be nice to have someone who knows how much effort I put in and comes from the same standpoint as me. Not that I'm saying I feel underappreciated, more that I feel impotent.
I'm always trying to ramp the guides up, but they tend to look at me as if I have three heads. I also think we need to do some proper planning and have ideas for what we're going to do over consecutive weeks. I know that we seem to have given up letting the patrols organise themselves as they just don't. Or more accurately, some of them do it. But not all. And not every week. There is *always* a patrol with nothing to do. It drives me insane.
We also always seem to be a last resort. You know, they have nothing else to do this week so they'll come to Guides. I was under the impression they were meant to come every week... But there is no point in my frustration.
They don't come every week as they're not inspired. So to an extent it's my fault. I just wish I could find the thing that does inspire them. I don't want our unit to fold. But at the rate it's going it'll be gone by Christmas. And then where will I be :( Because I have that unit in my heart. I guess I'd have to move to Toll Gavel. 
Madam will be at Toll Gavel for Rainbows soon enough! I can't believe she'll be 5 in 5 weeks time... Plans for her birthday party are starting to have to be set into action. We have the play centre booked for her and a few friends. I guess I need to think about what I'm even going to get her for her birthday! 
I have younger brother hunting for The Little Mermaid on DVD for her. But I want to get her something more. She doesn't need any more toys. Or clothes. What do I get her then? I guess I'll have to ask if there is anything she wants... Perhaps she'd have Rainbow uniform as a present...
This is her birthday last year...
new coat, new pushchair, new clothes!
princess cake...
And the year before...
it was all about pirates when she was 3

yup, that is a snowsuit she's wearing...
And when she was two...
hello kitty *everything*
There's no cake shot from when she was two... I don't even remember what I made!
For some reason there are no pictures of her first birthday. There was this though...
madam with her one true love: baby

10 September 2013

it's all about the love! L-O-V-E love!

Hello blogosphere! So sorry to have ben gone so long. I was expecting to be back last week and then events conspired against me.
Madam has started at big school and went only in the mornings on Tuesday and Wednesday. Somehow, I failed to have any time to write then. On Thursday we travelled up to Edinburgh to attend my cousins wedding. When we arrived we discovered the Little Chef (with free wifi) next to the Travelodge had closed down.
This was a major pain as some of our planning had hinged around a large cooked breakfast on Saturday morning... We ended up buying our own weight in porridge pots from Asda so we didn't have to have the rather uninspiring Lodge breakfast.
Travelodge did have wifi. For £5 an hour! WTF Travelodge! It was £10 for a day and £20 for a week, which, in the scheme of things was not unreasonable. But too expensive for me... So, no access to the internet except via my phone. And then not really much time for that as we had family to see and a madam to amuse.
On Thursday evening we went to my Aunt and Uncles house for a meal and to meet (in some cases for the first time ever) some of my American relatives. We did spend a portion of the evening trying to decide what relation we all were to each other. It was quite funny, ultimately though, we couldn't work it out. We're going with extended family, and everyone is happy!
I loved meeting these new Aunts, Uncles and Cousins. As I didn't *really* remember having met any of them. And for my Florida based family it was the first time ever! And I love them! We all got on instantly and there is a definite shared sense of humour going on... Particular props to my uncle R who pretty much constantly had me laughing.
I just need to go to the States now...
On Friday we went to a Butterfly Farm with madam. It started as just something mum, dad and I were going to do, but in the end both my brothers and H came. We saw loads of butterflies (not surprisingly), including some that were hatching out. We got to feed the quails who were running around the butterfly house and then we got to play with the creatures in the reptile and insect house.

Madam proved her inquisitive nature by holding anything the man offered. We started with a Royal Python called Turkana. She had been bought as a male for the them, but sadly, after producing eggs, was found not to be. They do have a confirmed male snake now though.
She was beautiful and had some quite distinctive markings. Madam had to have help to hold her as she was very powerful and quite big for a 4 yr old! Then we got to hold a millipede. It pooed quite liberally over the guy who worked there. I have a feeling that this is actually madams highlight of the whole trip!
Finally, we held a Chilean Rose Tarantula called Rosie 2. She did just sit very still on your hand. Well, except on me where she decided to go for a walk... But madam held her. By herself. She was so proud of herself for having done that. She's not very sure about whether spiders scare her, so it was good that she had that experience. H on the other hand *is* scared of them. But even she managed to shake a paw. Very brave indeed.

My brothers and H then went into the city whilst we had lunch at the garden centre next door. We planned on going down to the beach afterwards and flying madams kite, but the rain set in and we wimped out. I tried to get madam to have a nap as we were having tea at a pub later, but no...
Tea was at the Sheeps Heid pub. My mother remembered coming there as a student to play real skittles, but sadly we didn't get the chance as there was a private party in there. We did end up with a big family dinner as my uncle and the male relatives were excluded from bridesmaid fun! Though we did end up with one aunt as she didn't fancy it!
But then it was Saturday. And I had been waiting for this day since my cousin announced she was engaged! My cousin L had always been my favourite when we were kids. She's six years younger than me so used to be like a baby sister. And I really love her husband. He's always seemed like the perfect guy for her.
The ceremony was at 1.30 and seemed to be over in a flash. L looked stunning and G could not have looked happier. We then headed out to a stately home just outside Edinburgh for the reception. We were piped in and met with the most beautiful hall and staircase. There was champagne, there were lots of people. We got to poke about in a couple of rooms. We were not allowed to sit on a lot of the furniture! The place was stuffed with beautiful art works and an impressive amount of trinkets. The views were amazing and we had some photos taken on the front lawn.
There were speeches and then the most wonderful meal (not surprising given G is a restauranter). Even A didn't grumble about it, and, being a chef, he usually finds something! (that was a lot of commas)
But by this point it was 8.30... dancing was supposed to start at 9, but we had to cut the (gorgeous) cake first. The first dance was lovely and as romantic as you'd hope for. There was a rather raucous ceilidh trying to kick off, but we had to get madam home to bed. She was physically wilting before our eyes.
Annoyingly, she perked up back at the hotel, but we had some fun taking pictures and then I forced her into bed. So tired. So happy.

Sunday was hometime and then madam was at school again. Full days now. I feel more lost somehow. Weird, she's been at nursery for ages, I expected it to be the same. But I guess because I know it'll be every day now, it's that little bit different.
I shall let you know how it goes ;) 
(P.S. you have no idea how hard it was to narrow down the photos. And yes, those are swan shaped choux buns around the bottom of the cake!)