Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Off with his head!

Having been on a visit to the Tower of London this is a conversation I had with Emily on the way home.

E: "mummy why did they chop people's heads off?"

J: "if they had done something bad or plotted against the king or queen"

E: "so did they chop people's heads off for trumping and not saying pardon me?"

E "cos that's not fair everyone trumps!"

This was on a coach full of people and I did feel a bit awkward having a conversation about heads being chopped off given the current news.  But then in the Tower days they did seem to chop people's heads off for no reason.

The visit was very hectic and has really knocked me for six and I still have several days of holidays to go, so will just post a few pictures and write more detail when I feel better.  At the moment I would not mind being separated from my own head which thinks it is still on the coach going round and round.  I get awful motion sickness after travelling and we did go by taxi, coach, boat, underground and wheelchair, not to mention a fairground ride so my head does not know which way it is going!

The poppies at the tower are amazing and its not finished yet.  Poppies can be purchased from or on 0303 770 1914 for £25 + p&p.  Our order number is just over 300,000 and they are having 888,246 so there is still a long way to go.

Monday, August 18, 2014

My latest card and some quilts, updated

I made another stitched card.

The pattern is from Ann's papercraft, pattern a427 stitched with metallic threads, seed beads and a ribbon flower.

I am amazed at the quilts I have seen from the Quilting show, especially ones made by children.  See young quilters blog.  I love this rabbit, very Alice in Wonderland.

Here are some others that appeal to me;

I would love to have been able to go to the show, but I am sure it would have been totally overwhelming with so much to see and do and travelling too.  It would be nice just sometimes to be able to do something I'd like to do and be able to enjoy it and not pay the consequences.

Other people have written about going to the show, Sarah my tutor has 3 posts on her blog shoppingthe show and competition quilts.  Laura at Bugs and Fishes has written about the show and has posted lots of pictures.

Friday, August 15, 2014


Anyone who has or knows a little girl will know that Frozen is the current must have.

We did some of these activites the other day.  The Elsa and Anna dolls are good but quite fiddly, not something a child could do alone.

Saw these great knitted Elsa and Anna and wondering if I will have time to give them a try for Christmas?!  Well there is a Christmas every year, but not sure how long the trend will last!!

So many ideas, so little time and energy :-(

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Let it go

Posted on facebook by Become your own sunshine, all I need now is to learn how!!

You got to laugh

They tell us laughter is the best medicine. Sometimes no matter how stressful things are you just have to laugh at things that people say or do.

I will share a few of Emily's classics from recently.

On holiday, helping to carry some bags "I am carrying the bags, that makes me a carrier bag"

Also on holiday going back to caravan for lunch, "there won't be any bees on the flowers at the moment they will have gone to lunch"

In a discussion about what god created, "God made Morrisons"  Perhaps he didn't rest on the 7th day at all, he built Morrisons!

Despite my post about the difficulties of being a parent, there are a few lighter moments, hope they made you smile too.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Parenting pain

I knew when I decided to have a child that it would not be easy, but I think I was thinking more the physical demands, not the emotional and the juggling and trying to keep everyone happy.

Emily was an easy baby and always a pleasant child.  Over time her behaviour has become more challenging and each day is a battle.  She has many tantrums, is very strong willed and is rude and bossy.  I keep thinking if she was not my child I would not like her! (not a nice thing to think).

I am really running out of ideas, discipline does not seem to work, I am fed up of shouting which of course makes things worse.  I am of the view that things happen for a reason so there has to be a reason that she behaves in such a way, but its hard at the time to be rational.  I have tried talking to her, we have some strange conversations at times, but nothing concrete seems to emerge.

This morning I tried to ask her why she won't go to bed, this is the big thing at the moment, she refuses to go to bed or comes downstairs every few minutes with some excuse or other usually that she needs something, or that she feels ill or to see how long it will be until I go to bed.  She usually settles once I go to bed.  this means that Rob and I get no time together at all and tempers become frayed as we are trying to sort things out in odd minutes that we get.  I can't remember the last time we had an evening out, we have had odd times together when Rob has taken time off work, usually to sort something out or for a family emergency.  Yesterday I found a weekend break that we could do if Emily stayed with family, but am now wondering if it will just make things worse.

My chat with Emily did not achieve anything as she was more interested in teasing the cat or laughing at me for telling her that it was not acceptable behaviour to play up at bedtime.  She often comes down saying she wants me or she has not seen me, which is not true I am here all the time, she is just busy doing other things; watching TV, playing with children next door or ignoring me.  I asked her if it would help if we planned a special time together each day and she said no as she might be doing something else.  Later on I asked her what she wants to do when she gets home from her Willows session today.  She asked to go to the park, I have no car and the weather is not good, then she said the pay centre, again no car and she wants me to take her to the one which is too far for me to drive anyway and then I can't walk from car into centre and can't get scooter in and out of car.  I sad that we could walk (me scooter) along to a local play area if the weather is ok and maybe call in at garden centre for a new plant for outside front door.  She said what is wrong with the one that is there? I said it is dead, she said I don't like change I don't want to change it it messes things up.  Next she said I don't like dead things I don't want to see it.  In the end we did not make any plans and now she has gone to Willows.  I am sure that she will be unsettled about this as she has not been before, only had one to one at home with her key worker.  Today she has gone to an arts and crafts session where she won't know anyone and was picked up by someone she has never met.  I wouldn't want to do that and would have been unsettled last night if it was me, but what can I do if she does not tell me, I don't want to put words in her mouth or make her even more worried about going and in the end she makes so many excuses and behaves so badly she gets into trouble.

A very strange conversation the other week, which I thought was creepy, but again I don't know how to tackle.  We were having a drink in a supermarket cafe and out of the blue she said to me, you want to die don't you?  Trying not be shocked I said no, but we never know when we might die.  There have been two deaths in the family recently.  Not satisfied with this she said will you just hurry up and die and then daddy can get on with looking after me.  I said won't you miss me, she said yes but it would be ok.  She then went on to something else and I didn't want to push the subject, but something is obviously getting to her.

Emily is more unsettled away from home and we have spent a lot of time away from home recently with family problems and holiday.  On holiday she refused to sleep in her own bed and spent the whole week in with me again refusing to go to bed until I did.  Most of the activities we did she moaned all the way round, or sulked or had tantrums, then would later say she had enjoyed it!!  One place we went she moaned all the way round and kept asking to leave and as soon as we got out she asked to go back in, as it was a paid thing we couldn't go back in.  there was a kids activity sheet to do on the way round which she had no interest in, but later blamed me for it not being filled in.  It's difficult when we are out as I use my wheelchair so Rob has to push me, Emily often wants to help, sometimes this is ok, but in some places she can't manage or she messes about so isn't allowed to and more arguments break out and I feel like its all my fault for being so useless.

I am really struggling to know what to do and the daily fights and tantrums drain my energy so there is no time for nice things.

I get very distressed I am a trained playworker, but can't deal with my own child.

She has tantrums on a daily basis, often at the slightest little thing, at her worst she lashes out and throws things at me.  She is always saying no one cares and no one likes her.  The tantrums are always worse when we have been with other people or when friends come to play and she does not always get her own way.  As a family we seem unable to relax and have fun and its always a ticking time bomb.  Rob and I do not agree on discipline or even what is bad behaviour.  Rob wants to be very authoritarian and seems to think children should be seen and not heard and always do exactly what parents want.  Yet when he is with other people he larks about and makes loads of noise.  When we play things, Rob is impatient and won't let Emily work things out or be creative, so she messes about or loses interest in anything we try to do.  Rob and Emily fight to be top dog and wind each other up and try to get each other into trouble and I am caught in the middle and whatever I say or do will upset someone, I don't want to take sides and usually end up making things worse not better.

Because I need to have rest periods during the day I am often trying to do other things when Emily is around, but if I have time she is not interested in doing anything and watches TV.  She is usually not interested in anything when she gets in from school or other activity, but picks up later when we are trying to prepare tea or when I am really tired again.  She likes watching TV, but what she watches is too young for her and she watches the same things over and over again.  I have tried getting her to watch different things, but she just says no without even trying.  At the moment all she will watch is Cbeebies, Tiny Pop and You've been framed.

Her general behaviour is very rude and bossy, refusing to listen, being bad mannered, stomping around, slamming doors and being deliberately naughty.  I know if she is with other people she is a little angel.  I don't expect her to be an angel all the time, but can't understand why she has become so naughty.

She gets very upset at being an only one, but she fights and falls out with friends.  She is good with much younger children and loves playing with them and caring for them, but I am sure if there was another child she would not be like that as she would get much less attention.  My post Get the facts right explains why we can't have another child.

I have sought advice and tried different techniques, some of which work for a while, but then don't.

I have so many books to look at, but get overwhelmed and when I read I want it to be for pleasure not trying to sort out problems all the time.  I have spent most of the morning typing this which means I have not rested and not relaxed and not done the stitched card I need to get finished.

Books I have are, some I have read, some I have read part of and others not;

Mom they're teasing me
parenting your Defiant Child
Explosive child
how to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk
opposite of worry
love bombing
secret of happy children
parenting doesn't have to be a job
teaching kids to be good people
stress free organization for your child
free to learn
easy to love difficult to discipline

I need to finish now I am so tired and need to rest and eat before Emily returns.

Crafty Emails

Here are a few links that have appeared in my email box recently

Cute Pink cardi, a free pattern from Love Knitting.

Kids bodywarmer, another free pattern from Love Knitting

And these fantastic bracelet patterns from Sova Enterprises

Monday, August 11, 2014

Another holiday quilt

My other quilt find on holiday was a biblical quilt at Cartmel Priory.  I did not get much of a look at it, as Emily was more interested in the people buried under the floor, who she found were mainly called John and she found a Jane too!  I had not heard of a biblical quilt before and did not realise until after that all the blocks had a biblical theme and verse attached to them.  The designs in the quilt were taken from Biblical Blocks by Rosemary Makhan.  The quilt in the priory was made by a lady called Muriel Millard and donated to the priory in her memory.  I should have paid more attention and taken some pictures.  Oh well a good excuse to visit again.  The priory is very impressive and well worth a visit, it is wheelchair accessible.

A Google search brings up many varieties of biblical quilt, the one that is most similar in appearance to the one in the priory is this one on a blog called Quilts by Rosemary that is the Rosemary who wrote the book.  A further search informs that Rosemary died on January 26th 2014.  Her beautiful designs certainly live on.

Still on the subject of quilts, this week has been the Festival of quilts at the NEC Birmingham.  I would love to have been able to go.  My quilting teacher Sarah Humphreys is running workshops and I am sure she will have lots to tell the class on Friday, but I won't be there due to school holidays. I will have to wait and see if she writes about it in her blog or newsletter. I still haven't had my birthday trip to Quilt Museum in York and its nearly 2 months since my birthday, looks like it might be next years trip now!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Crafty finds on holiday

Its a few weeks since I was on holiday now, seems like forever so much is going on with school holidays, another funeral, catching up after the holiday, Emily being ill and of course the ME which keeps a firm hold.
So just a short post about some of the crafty things spotted whilst on holiday;
Britannia bed quilt  at the Quaker tapestry exhibition in Kendal, more details about the quilt here.  It is 100 years old and combines embroidery and knitting.  It was amazing.

The main exhibition is Quaker tapestry which was also quite amazing.  I thought I had some pictures, but I can't find them!  A search on Google brings up many of them.  Also at this exhibition was an excellent cafe with gluten free food and it was all wheelchair accessible, so an excellent find.  Emily was not that interested, but there are children's activities at times and there was an area to dress as a Quaker.

Also in Kendal we visited 1657 Chocolate shop a hit with Rob and Emily and bought chocolate and had a drink of hot chocolate in the cafe, which also had gluten free food.  Finally on our crafty day in Kendal we found Paperwarehouse, lots of craft accessories to look at, but resisted the temptation to buy except some basic card and a few bits for Emily to play with.

I will write about our other finds in another blog as I am very tired and struggling to see with a bad headache :-( now.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Get the facts right! Or maybe it should be Let it Go!

This morning headline in the Daily Mail is NHS to fund sperm bank for Lesbians.  I find this rather upsetting as I need a sperm donor in order to have another child and was told there is none in the UK and that it has to be imported from Denmark which is expensive and takes too long and to go away and forget about it.  But how can I forget about it when there are headlines like this?

The article is actually about the NHS setting up sperm banks in the UK, only at 2 centres which it does not name.  Other papers name Birmingham Women's hospital in their less sensational stories the Guardian and Sunday Times.  In actual fact the banks are being set up to benefit anyone who needs donor sperm, but will be of biggest benefit to lesbian couples and single women who of course can't have children in the conventional way.

Having just been on a family holiday where there were lots of babies and pregnant women my baby longing has become stronger again, even though I know I am too old and can't afford it.  In my case it'snot just the need for a donor I also need IVF which I have already had 3 times with only one successful pregnancy and the treatment made me very ill.  Emily makes things worse at times by pleading with me for a baby brother or sister and not understanding that it is not possible.  Our situation is rather complicated so not something a 7 year old can understand.

Our journey to having a child as with many other things was rather fraught and complicated.  We began trying for a child naturally and things did not happen so were referred to the hospital.  I have Polycystic ovaries, but no other obvious problems.  Rob's sperm count was ok at first, then he was diagnosed with Azoospermia but with no apparent cause so we were a  bit of a mystery, but it was thought we would benefit from IVF so were put on the waiting list.  On 11th August 2005 were given a start date of Mid sept.  I remember this date clearly as my grandad died later that day.  We started the treatment which is very demanding and requires lots of medication and daily injections.  I had a very good reaction, too good though as I developed Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome which is very uncomfortable and has to be monitored closely meaning many blood tests and scans.  14 eggs were harvested in a rather painful procedure, out of this only 4 fertilised.  We had expected the standard (at the time) 2 embryos to be replaced, but on the day the Dr said due to my illness they thought one might be better and asked us to decide and left us to discuss it.  The transfer has to be done with a full bladder so we were left to discuss and I was rather uncomfortable and the transfer was finally cancelled and moved to next day when we had 1 embryo put back and the other 3 frozen.  Still with OHSS and awaiting result we joined family to celebrate my grandma's 90th birthday, quite difficult as no one knew and I still needed daily injections of hormones and heparin.  The test date finally arrived its a very long 2 weeks wait and it was negative :-( We were told that we could try again with our frozen embryos so we began the process to do this.  When we were accepted for treatment the NHS funded one full cycle and one frozen cycle, but then it changed just to one full cycle and we were told that our frozen cycle would not be funded.  We appealed this and eventually were told that we could have the frozen cycle funded as it was part of the contract we had signed.  So off we went again in April 2006.  Frozen cycles are easier and involve less drugs as the ovaries do not need to be stimulated and there is no egg collection and no chance of OHSS, but still time consuming and stressful and Rob had been ill on and off for several months.  Two embros were put back this time and the other failed so was destroyed.  Another key date in this cycle the test date was to be my 35th birthday.  I had my birthday a day early just in case we were to be disappointed again.  On June 16th 2006 I was told I was finally pregnant and given a due date of February 2007.

As with any pregnancy it was stressful time, but mine was very stressful due to Rob's mum being diagnosed with a rare kidney cancer, she had successful treatment in October 2006.  Just a few weeks later Rob was diagnosed with a pituitary tumour which required immediate surgery.  I collapsed and was paralysed for nearly 24 hours, so Rob was in one hospital and I was in another and we lived like that for a week.  Rob had his surgery the day my grandma had surgery to replace her broken shoulder.  I was in hospital for a week and Rob for 2 weeks due to complications with his surgery.  On December 22nd after many weeks of waiting we were told Rob had cancer, very unusual for a pituitary tumour and it was an unknown type so they didn't know how to treat it!  He was scheduled for radiotherapy in April.

Rob began his road towards recovery and radiotherapy and we waited for our baby, who arrived 2 weeks early on February 5th 2007, 3 days before Rob's 30th birthday.  My grandma who had been in hospital several months was discharged that day.  We were able to enjoy a few weeks of parenthood before my grandma (the other one) was found collapsed in her home with a stroke and was admitted to hospital with no chance of recovery.  We waited for the inevitable, grandma died on April 15th, my mum's birthday and the day before Rob started is radiotherapy.

We had said before Emily was born that due the the nature f the IVF treatment and cost we would only have Emily.  But with all that happened and natural desire I began to want another child.  I felt that I had been denied the chance of experiencing pregnancy as we had been so busy with other things and Emily's first few months were overshadowed by other events.  Unfortunately as Rob had had his pituitary gland removed he did not produce sperm any more, so we thought we had no options, but then discovered that he could have hormone replacement to restart production, it should take a few months to be effective.  So daily injections and regular tests began and 2 years later he had a very small amount!  Just enough to try IVF again, his sperm was stored and the medication stopped and the IVF started again.  This time we were told to try Intracytoplasmic sperm injection as it gave us a better chance of fertilisation, but of course it was more expensive!  Ten eggs were harvested in a painless egg collection due to much better pain killers and sedation.  Then began the wait for the news of fertilisation, its an agonising 24 hour wait for the phone to ring.  Finally the phone call none had fertilised, end of the road. And £5,000 down the drain just to add to the pain.

At the follow up we were told that our only option would be a sperm donor, which is expensive and time consuming and not available to most.  We were told to go and forget about it and settle for having one child. We did look into sperm donation and found that it was possible, but too involved and expensive so we eventually made the decision not to go down that road, but its still difficult to accept. I know I am blessed to have Emily, but still long for another even though I know I can't.  So that is why I find stories like that so annoying.  I don't begrudge anyone the chance of a child, but wish the press would be careful what they say and how they portray stories around sensitive issues.

After typing this there is more about what happened to me rather than the story.  The sperm bank will be available to everyone, based in Birmingham though I suspect that that area will benefit the most.

Its all to late for me so I have to find a way of letting it go and the words from the Frozen song are quire appropriate although about something totally different.

The snow glows white on the mountain tonight
Not a footprint to be seen
A kingdom of isolation,
And it looks like I'm the queen.

The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside
Couldn't keep it in, heaven knows I tried!

Don't let them in, don't let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don't feel, don't let them know
Well, now they know!

Let it go, let it go
Can't hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door!

I don't care
What they're going to say
Let the storm rage on,
The cold never bothered me anyway!

It's funny how some distance
Makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me
Can't get to me at all!

It's time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me I'm free!

Let it go, let it go
I am one with the wind and sky
Let it go, let it go
You'll never see me cry!

Here I stand
And here I'll stay
Let the storm rage on!

My power flurries through the air into the ground
My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around
And one thought crystallizes like an icy blast
I'm never going back,
The past is in the past!

Let it go, let it go
And I'll rise like the break of dawn
Let it go, let it go
That perfect girl is gone!

Here I stand
In the light of day
Let the storm rage on,
The cold never bothered me anyway!

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