Wednesday, 21 December 2016

The Christmas Tag

I can't remember where I saw this, it's been sitting in my drafts so long. But anyway, who doesn't love a bit of Christmas fun? On with the Christmas tag...

What’s your favourite Christmas Movie?
I can't choose just one, it's not possible. Loved in equal measure are Home Alone, Home Alone 2, and Elf.

Have you ever had a white Christmas?
Yes. Don't ask me to prove it though!

Where do you usually spend your holiday?
Usually at home.

What is your favourite Christmas song?
I love a bit of Shaky at Christmas. And "Christmas Wrapping" by The Waitresses.

Do you open any presents on Christmas Eve?
No, but we do have a Night Before Christmas box. We only started it last year once we had a child to start new traditions with.

Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?
Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen. And Rudolph of course!

What holiday traditions are you looking forward to this year?
I'm looking forward to all of it. It feels like a real family Christmas for the first time, and it's going to be amazing!

Is your Christmas tree real or fake?
Fake. I've never had a real tree.

What is your all time favourite holiday treat/food/sweet?
Mince pies, and all the chocolate. Chocolate oranges and after eights particularly.

Be honest, do you like giving or receiving gifts better?
Probably giving, but it stresses me out a bit trying to find the perfect gifts for everyone!

What is the best Christmas present you ever received?
Is it awful that nothing is coming to mind? I really can't think of one particular awesome thing.

What would be your dream place to visit for the holiday season?
I would always always always say New York, but we were lucky enough to visit the Big Apple at the end of December 2014 and stay for New Years Eve. I'd do it again though, definitely!

Are you a pro present wrapper or do you fail miserably?
I am a present wrapping extraordinaire!

Most memorable Christmas moment?
Erm... trying to sieve blended turkey last year for Samson, so he could have some of our Christmas dinner. And then he didn't even want it haha!

What made you realise the truth about Santa?
I genuinely don't remember. Maybe it was so traumatic I blocked it out?!

What makes the holidays special for you?
I just love Christmas. I love time with family, especially now that we have our own child. I can't wait to see his face on Christmas morning, and to make lots of memories over Christmases to come.

If you want to join the fun and do the Christmas tag, please leave the link in the comments below so I can come and read your answers!

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Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Winter Wonderland at Center Parcs

Christmas last year wasn't, if I'm honest, the amazing first Christmas as a family that we've dreamed of for so many years. Samson was unwell for a lot of December, we went to at least one hospital per week every week for over 2 months - not all planned trips, we had a couple of overnighters in A&E - and when we weren't at hospitals or doctors surgeries we were basically housebound to try to protect him from infection and the cold weather. Which meant no looking at Christmas lights and decorations, and no visits to Santa.

This year is so different. Incredibly, wonderfully different. Samson is less vulnerable, stronger, and the hospital trips are less frequent. Christmas really is going to be a wonderful celebration this year, and in order to make the most of it we decided to kick things off early and book a Winter Wonderland trip to Center Parcs for late November.

We've never been to Center Parcs before, as it always seemed a bit extravagant and pricey for just the two of us - but perceptions change somewhat when you have children! Yes it's not cheap, but we figured we'd had a pretty harrowing first year of parenthood and we deserved a treat, so we even upgraded accommodation. We took my mum along with us as well by way of a small thank you for everything she has done and continues to do for us - without her, I wouldn't have been able to go to work and we'd struggle to get anything done at home. A third pair of hands makes a huge difference to us every day!

The Center Parcs at Whinfell Forest is only an hour and a half away from us, which was a big factor in us choosing to go there as we're all about the short journeys! We left home around 12.30pm and arrived shortly after 2pm. Checking in at the arrivals lodge impressed us - they knew who we were and how many of there should be before the car had even come to a stop! We couldn't access our lodge until 3.30pm, so we parked the car in the car park and headed to the village centre for a look around and a bite to eat to pass the time.

When the time came to go to our lodge, the four of us wandered along and we were so impressed with it. It was beautiful. We left my mum and Samson there while we went to go get the car so that we could unload, and we were again impressed with the village and how well signposted it is. You'd do well to get lost when driving to your lodge!

There were so many activities to choose from during the course of our stay, and many I was extremely tempted by for Samson, but in the end the only thing we did at extra cost was the visit to Santa. Not only was it Samson's first time meeting Santa, it was also my first time, so I was pretty excited and not only on his behalf! Santa's Workshop was decorated beautifully, and we'd chosen the 4.15pm slot thinking that it would be dark so we'd get the full effect of the lights, but less busy than the more popular early evening slots. It worked a treat; there was no queue at all when we arrived and we were straight inside to see the elves. Then we were called in to see the man himself - exciting! Samson was a bit hesitant at first to say the least, although the offer of a chocolate coin did persuade him to approach Santa. Only for long enough to grab the coin! We had a lovely photo taken, and then Santa gave Samson a little gift and we were on our way.

That evening was also the fireworks display, so we made our way up to the lake to watch. This was another first for Samson as he'd never seen fireworks before, and his reaction was mixed - he loved the sparkles and lights but wasn't so keen on the bangs. I don't blame him for that.

The rest of our stay was very enjoyable, if reasonably unremarkable. We had a few walks around the forest, ate in some nice restaurants, and finally (finally!!) managed to get Samson to see that swimming is fun and not the devil. We had a couple of really enjoyable afternoons in the subtropical swimming paradise - and, you know what, it's appropriately named! There's so much in there to explore and you could easily spend an entire day there.

Friday came around far too quickly, and we had to go home. Center Parcs has absolutely won us over though, and we will definitely return!

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Tuesday, 1 November 2016

National Fertility Awareness Week #NFAWUK

This week is National Fertility Awareness Week here in the UK; a week to raise awareness about fertility problems and challenge the myths surrounding them.

In the UK, 1 in 6 couples face fertility problems. We were that 1 in 6. You probably know if you've been around for some time, that we had to have two attempts at IVF to have our precious baby. It took us 3 and a half years of trying to conceive - at the time, that felt like 3 and a half decades. Time moves very differently when you're stuck on a rollercoaster that you just don't want to be on. Still, our journey was relatively short compared to others, and we are incredibly grateful that we were able to receive the treatment we did and that it was successful.

There are no two ways about it; infertility sucks. That period of my life - our lives - sucked. It did, however, lead me to meet an amazing group of women (one of them is on the poster above!) who, thanks to the power of the internet and the shared miserable experiences we had, have become a wonderful group of friends. Infertility can be extremely isolating and lonely, but there is support out there and other people going through the same thing, and that helps you through the darkest moments enormously.

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Friday, 14 October 2016

Baby Loss Awareness Week

I was unsure whether to write this post, but I think I needed to. These feelings have eaten away at me inside for a long time; barely acknowledged for fear of sounding like I don't appreciate what we have. Which of course, I absolutely do.

It's baby loss awareness week. 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. I haven't suffered it in the traditional way - that is, finding out I'm pregnant, and then miscarrying and having nothing but emptiness. My loss of babies has been somewhat different, but a loss I've felt deeply nonetheless.

Those of you who've been around for some time know that we had an IVF cycle in March-April 2014, which ended in failure. That embryo didn't stick around long enough to turn into a positive pregnancy test, but to me that embryo was a very real hope of a baby. It embodied our dreams and our wishes for the future; to lose it was devastating for me. It was right up there with the loss of my dad as one of the very worst times of my life.

The second time around at IVF, we transferred two embryos. Both of those stuck initially, but then we lost one at 6 weeks. That was such a confusing time emotionally - I was so indescribably relieved to be pregnant and to see a little jelly bean with a heartbeat at 7 weeks, but there was a tinge of sadness at the loss of the other. I had dreamed of what it would be like to be a twin mum, wondered whether we'd have two girls, two boys, or one of each.

With hindsight, I'd be lying if I said there wasn't some relief that we just had the one baby - his arrival was so dramatic, his first few months so stressful, and his health problems will be lifelong. I can't imagine how we would have coped with two. But that doesn't mean I don't think about the one we lost; I do. All the time. Every day.

I wonder whether it was a boy or a girl. Would they have looked like Samson? Would they have been as full of character and spirit as he is? Would they have been healthy? These questions will never be answered - they'll also probably never be asked aloud. They're just ponderings in my mind.

Tomorrow night I'll be lighting a candle for our lost babies, for all the lost babies that parents never got to meet, and for the angel babies that were taken away too soon. You can join the wave of light by lighting a candle too, on 15th October at 7pm.

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Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Recent Reads

Since I've been back at work after maternity leave, I've started reading again - the commute is the perfect time to lose myself in a book!

The last time I did a Recent Reads post was 2 years ago (!) so there's a few to catch up on now. So, without any further ado..
The Maze Runner - James Dashner
What Goodreads Says: If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.
When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone.
Nice to meet ya, shank. Welcome to the Glade.
Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive.
Everything is going to change.
Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.
Remember. Survive. Run.
What I Say: It's a looong time since I read this, but I did enjoy it.
I rated it 4/5

About A Girl - Lindsey Kelk
What Goodreads Says: I’d lost my job. I’d lost the love of my life. My mum wasn’t talking to me. My best friend was epically pissed off. And my flatmate probably had a hit out on me by now. I never meant for things to get so out of hand…
Tess Brookes has always been a Girl with a Plan. But when her carefully constructed Plan goes belly up, she’s forced to reconsider.
After accidently answering her flatmate Vanessa’s phone, she decides that since being Tess isn’t going so well, why shouldn’t she try out being Vanessa? With nothing left to lose, she accepts Vanessa’s photography assignment to Hawaii – she used to be an amateur snapper, how hard can it be? Right?
But Tess is soon in big trouble – she isn’t a photographer, she isn’t Vanessa, and the gorgeous journalist on the shoot with her, who is making it very clear he’d like to get into her pants, is an egotistical monster.
Far from home and in someone else’s shoes, Tess must decide whether to fight on through, or ‘fess up and run…
What I Say: Lindsey Kelk did not disappoint with this one. I'll be honest and say the only reason I can remember it is that I've read the sequels recently - baby brain still in operation here!
I rated it 4/5

The Single Girl's To-Do List - Lindsey Kelk
What Goodreads Says: A hilarious and romantic standalone novel from the bestselling author of the I Heart series
Rachel Summers loves a to-do list:
• Boyfriend
• Flat
• Great job
NOT on the list:
• Being dumped
Best friends Emelie and Matthew ride to her rescue with an entirely new kind of list – The Single Girl’s To-Do List. Rachel doesn’t know it, but it will take her on all kinds of wild adventures – and get her in some romantic pickles too. And then it won't be a case of what but who she decides to tick off…
• Mr. bendy yoga instructor
• Mr. teenage sweetheart
• Mr. persistent ex
• Mr. deeply unsuitable
The Single Girl’s To-Do List gives Rachel the perfect heartbreak cure – and proves love is out there if you’re willing to take a chance.
What I Say: I don't actually remember this all that well now, but given the rating I gave it I must have really liked it!
I rated it 5/5
For Nick - Taylor Dean
What Goodreads Says: Zachary Drake had love in his life--and tragically lost it. He knows it won't come his way again. Andie Parker would do anything for the love of her life.
Even marry a total stranger.
In spite of the unorthodox manner in which Zach and Andie come together, there is no denying that things are unexpectedly good between them, taking them both by surprise. However, when secrets come between them--and trust does not--Andie soon finds herself vowing to never make the same mistake again. But, she'd do it again in a heartbeat and she knows it. She'd marry a hundred strangers if it helped Nick.
She'd do anything for Nick . . . anything.
What I Say: I've never found a Taylor Dean book I didn't enjoy, and this one is no different.
I rated it 4/5

Winners - Danielle Steel
What Goodreads Says: When a horrific chairlift accident leaves 17-year-old competitive skier Lily Thomas paralyzed, she must come to grips with the fact that she'll not only be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life, but will never fulfill her lifelong dream of winning Olympic gold. Meanwhile, her wealthy father, who has doted on Lily since her mother died when she was three, is devastated as he watches his only child lose all she once cherished and suffer through the arduous road to recovery. But just as all hope seems lost, Lily meets Teddy, a young man even more badly injured than she, but as doggedly determined to live an enriching life. Danielle Steel is at her best in this powerful story of a father and daughter triumphing together over unthinkable tragedy, creating new lives for themselves and providing hope for others along the way.
What I Say: I read this when Samson was in hospital recovering from his heart surgery; that's what this book will always remind me of. It's the first Danielle Steel I've read in a while, and although the plot was predictable it was enjoyable escapism nonetheless.
I rated it 4/5

The Bookshop On The Corner - Rebecca Raisin
What Goodreads Says: Who said that only real heroes could be found in fiction?
Sarah Smith had an addiction – she was addicted to romance novels. The meet-cute, the passion, the drama and the gorgeous men! Now this wouldn’t have been such an issue if she hadn’t been the owner of the only bookshop in Ashford, Connecticut.
Ever since her close friend Lil, from The Gingerbread CafĂ©, had become engaged she had been yearning for a little love to turn up in her life. Except Sarah knew a good man was hard to find – especially in a tiny town like Ashford. That was until New York journalist, Ridge Warner stepped into her bookshop…
Love could be just around the corner for Sarah, but will she be able to truly believe that happy-ever-after can happen in real-life too!

What I Say: This was the first book I'd read in a while, and it was a nice way to get back into it. I found the characters charming and relatable.
I rated it 4/5

In A New York Minute - Claudia Carroll
What Goodreads Says: Love isn’t always like it is in the movies … or is it?
Amy has moved to the city that never sleeps, and now she’s looking for love.
But after a string of dating disasters it seems that finding Mr. Right isn’t quite as easy as Amy first thought.
Following in the footsteps of her favourite New York movies Amy is determined to have that romantic Manhattan moment. But like all good romances – love often turns up in the most unexpected of places…
A heart-warming, 23 page short story from best-selling author, Claudia Carroll, this is the perfect read for Valentine’s Day.

What I Say: Short, and not memorable.
I rated it 3/5

Lancaster House - Taylor Dean
What Goodreads Says: Zoe Grayson needs a change. So, she moves to another state, purchases an old, dilapidated 1920s Victorian Mansion, and sets out to restore it to its former glory. As she begins the restoration, she finds herself falling in love with the old house . . . not to mention its illustrious builder, Mr. Lancaster. Zoe becomes obsessed with the house as she discovers its secrets; hidden rooms, secret passageways . . . and a mysterious man who seems to think the house is his. Who is he? More importantly, how does he live in her home unseen and unheard?
The unexpected answers leave her reeling—and questioning everything she’s ever known. To her dismay, Zoe’s actions land her in the local psychiatric hospital, scheming for ways to return to Lancaster House . . . and the love of her life.
What I Say: This one was a bit different, being on the supernatural side - but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
I rated it 4/5

Sizzling Sixteen - Janet Evanovich
What Goodreads Says: Trenton, New Jersey, bounty hunter Stephanie Plum has inherited a “lucky” bottle from her Uncle Pip. Problem is, Uncle Pip didn’t specify if the bottle brought good luck or bad luck. . . .
Vinnie, of Vincent Plum Bail Bonds, has run up a gambling debt of $786,000 with mobster Bobby Sunflower and is being held until the cash can be produced. Nobody else will pay to get Vinnie back, leaving it up to Stephanie, office manager Connie, and file clerk Lula to raise the money if they want to save their jobs.
Being in the business of tracking down people, Stephanie, Lula, and Connie have an advantage in finding Vinnie. If they can rescue him, it will buy them some time to raise the cash.
Finding a safe place to hide Vinnie turns out to be harder than raising $786,000. Vinnie’s messing up Mooner’s vibe, running up pay-per-view porn charges in Ranger’s apartment, and making Stephanie question genetics.
Between a bonds office yard sale that has the entire Burg turning out, Mooner’s Hobbit-Con charity event, and Uncle Pip’s lucky bottle, they just might raise enough money to save the business, and Vinnie, from ruin.
Saving Vincent Plum Bail Bonds means Stephanie can keep being a bounty hunter. In Trenton, this involves hunting down a man wanted for polygamy, a turnpike toilet paper bandit, and a drug dealer with a pet alligator named Mr. Jingles.
The job of bounty hunter comes with perks in the guise of Trenton’s hottest cop, Joe Morelli, and the dark and dangerous security expert, Ranger. With any luck at all, Uncle Pip’s lucky bottle will have Stephanie getting lucky--the only question is . . . with whom?
Sizzling Sixteen . . . so hot, the pages might spontaneously combust!
What I Say: The Stephanie Plum books are all a bit samey now, but easy enough to read without having to concentrate much.
I rated it 4/5

What A Girl Wants - Lindsey Kelk
What Goodreads Says: A summer bestseller from the immensely popular Lindsey Kelk Tess Brookes was the girl with a plan. Now she's the girl with a choice. Should she stay in London and start her own advertising agency with her best friend and potential boyfriend Charlie? Or should she head to exciting Milan to pursue both a new career as a photographer and a new man, the enigmatic and elusive (and highly irritating) Nick? For the first time, Tess has to choose between the life she always dreamed of and a future she never imagined possible. With her heart and her head pulling her in different directions, Tess has to make a life-changing decision about What a Girl Wants.
What I Say: I'm not ashamed to say I kind of love Tess, and I really enjoyed this next instalment of her adventures.
I rated it 4/5

A Girl's Best Friend - Lindsey Kelk
What Goodreads Says: First Tess was a girl with a plan.
Then she was a girl with a dream.
Now she’s a girl who’s come back to earth with a bump.
When the opportunity arises to join her best friend, Amy, in New York for Christmas, Tess jumps at the chance. The only fly in ointment is that Nick, the man who broke her heart, lives there. And Charlie, the man she turned down, has just started talking to her again. And she has just four days to take a photo for a competition that could save her career.
But aside from that, everything is going to be great: it’ll be the best Christmas ever. Won’t it?

What I Say: As above really. With the added bonus of New York as a setting, I love New York!
I rated it 4/5

The Scorch Trials - James Dashner
What Goodreads Says: Solving the Maze was supposed to be the end.
Thomas was sure that escape from the Maze would mean freedom for him and the Gladers. But WICKED isn’t done yet. Phase Two has just begun. The Scorch.
There are no rules. There is no help. You either make it or you die.
The Gladers have two weeks to cross through the Scorch—the most burned-out section of the world. And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them.
Friendships will be tested. Loyalties will be broken. All bets are off.
There are others now. Their survival depends on the Gladers’ destruction—and they’re determined to survive.
What I Say: I read the first third of this, watched the film, got thoroughly confused as nothing was the same, read the rest, felt even more confused as seriously nothing was the same, and my conclusion is that the book was better. I can't actually remember the film now, and it's only a couple of weeks ago.
I rated it 4/5

The Death Cure - James Dashner
What Goodreads Says: It’s the end of the line.
WICKED has taken everything from Thomas: his life, his memories, and now his only friends—the Gladers. But it’s finally over. The trials are complete, after one final test.
Will anyone survive?
What WICKED doesn’t know is that Thomas remembers far more than they think. And it’s enough to prove that he can’t believe a word of what they say.
The truth will be terrifying.
Thomas beat the Maze. He survived the Scorch. He’ll risk anything to save his friends. But the truth might be what ends it all.
The time for lies is over.
What I Say: My head is a bit battered after this trilogy, I've lost track of all the lies and deceit and basically what was going on. That's not to say I didn't like it; I did. It was definitely action packed and I hope the movie adaptation of this is more true to the book than The Scorch Trials was.
I rated it 4/5

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Monday, 10 October 2016

A Special Anniversary

Two years ago today was a huge day. We spent the morning anticipating a very important phone call - a call that would let us know how many, if any, of our three frozen embryos had survived the thaw and were ready for transfer that very afternoon.

When the call came, we were told that the first had survived, the second hadn't, and the third had. We had no more frozen embryos left, so if this cycle didn't work out we'd have to start again from scratch. We were hopeful, though, that transferring two embryos would give us a much better shot at achieving a pregnancy.

That afternoon we made our way to the fertility clinic and I was admitted to the ward. The thing I remember most distinctly about the time we were waiting was hearing two songs; "Move" by Little Mix, and "Troublemaker" by Olly Murs (how prophetic that turned out to be!) Those two songs always take me right back to that moment. The mixed feelings of hope that this would finally be our time, but fear that it would fail again. And fear that fear would negatively affect the outcome, so trying to suppress that and remain optimistic, yet realistic. It's such a confusion of emotions.
And now, here we are, 2 years on with a 17-month-old bundle of mischief, bravery and determination. He is every inch a hero.

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Tuesday, 23 August 2016

The Midnight Menace

Who exactly is the Midnight Menace?

Once every couple of weeks or so, something happens during the night. Our lovely, calm, sleepy child turns into something else entirely. He refuses to stay in his own bed. He won't stay still. He won't stay asleep. He rolls this way and he rolls that way, arms and legs waving around everywhere; hands grabbing at you, smacking you, pulling your hair.

On the nights that the Midnight Menace comes to visit, there's not a lot of rest to be had. The following morning is hard; getting out of bed feels like one of the most challenging things in the world. The small boy stirs, and sits himself up. He rubs his eyes, and suddenly all traces of the Midnight Menace are gone as his eyes meet yours and his face breaks into the most beautiful big smile. Then, as your heart swells with love for this little person that you made, of course you forgive the middle-of-the-night antics. How could you not?!

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Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Introducing My Beautiful Boy

If you've been following on me on Instagram over the last 14 months, then you've had a few glimpses of this handsome little chap. I thought it would be nice to introduce him properly though, and share a little bit more of what he's really like.

So... this is my gorgeous boy:

He's very cute, cheeky and mischievous. He has a thing for socks and shoes - any that he finds lying around he will pick up and hold his feet up next to them as if to say "I want to put these on". He isn't walking unassisted yet, but he has wanted to spend most of his time on his feet for months and months now. He's getting pretty confident at walking holding just one hand now. He has one tooth, and another is very nearly through.

Another favourite thing of his is balls. He has a ball pool at Grandma's house, and he thoroughly enjoys throwing the balls out of the pool and across the floor. Even better if he can get them under the sofa! He loves kicking them around too.

We can't get him to clap for anything - 14 months old and he's never clapped! - but ask him for a high five and he'll happily dish those out for ages. We haven't had any first words yet, but he is very vocal and babbles on incessantly at times. You can totally tell when he's telling you off!

Our daily "routine" is quite hard going, so we haven't been able to enjoy many days out and things like that yet. He has severe reflux, and although he's on a high dose of the big bad reflux medicine it can still be very difficult. The reflux itself isn't as prolific these days, but he can still only tolerate relatively small volumes of food and milk - which means that he needs feeding approximately every 2 hours. He also tends to have 3 naps during the day, so in between sleeping and feeds every couple of hours we don't have a lot of free time! He's the only baby I've ever known who point blank refuses to sleep in his pram, so we can't really take him out and expect him to have a nap sometime along the way. He just won't. He's way too inquisitive for that!

He loves CBeebies, and his favourite TV shows are In The Night Garden, Waybuloo, Twirlywoos and Teletubbies. The smile on his face when any of those programmes come on never fails to completely melt my heart. He also has little fixations on certain adverts, and when they come on you absolutely will not get a response out of him. His favourite at the moment seems to be any of the Gtech adverts - once Nick from Gtech starts talking, his gaze is firmly fixed on the TV until the advert is finished!

I could go on for ages about my precious boy, but I won't. I hope you've enjoyed getting to know him a little bit!

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Monday, 11 July 2016

Ramblings About Things That Have Changed Me

There are many things that I have gone through that have changed the person I am to the very core. The sudden loss of my dad changed the way I approach life (you know what, life really is too short and is precious and can be gone in a moment). Infertility changed me. Becoming a mum changed me. Being a preemie mum, an NICU mum, a heart mum... Those things all altered who I am and what I do completely.

I do believe that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, but - if I'm being completely honest - I don't think that all of these difficult experiences have necessarily made me a better person. I don't think I'm a bad person, but I look at myself and I see someone I can't say I'm 100% proud of.

These things have all left scars on my soul. They have taken things away from me that a lot of people take for granted. When people say you can't miss what you never had, they're wrong. I have grieved for so many hopes and dreams of pregnancy. I have grieved for a complete third trimester. I have grieved for labour. I have grieved for the opportunity to hold my newborn baby and bond with him immediately. I have grieved for the relationship my dad will never have with his only grandson. The grieving is an ongoing process, and I'm still finding myself hit by waves of it from time to time.

My way of dealing with the difficult times is to shut myself off. I haven't been on social media for over 2 weeks. I haven't posted on Samson's blog. I'm dealing with some delayed post-trauma feelings and trying to process everything we've gone through in the last couple of years. And, the thing is, nobody seems to have noticed. So now I'm wondering if, during all these traumatic times, I've pushed everyone away - or maybe let them drift away - because it kind of feels like the only people I have in my life right now are my husband, my son and my mum. Either that, or I've done such a fantastic job of keeping my chin up and my game face on that people genuinely think that of course I'm OK and everything is OK, because why wouldn't it be?

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Friday, 8 July 2016

A (Long Overdue!) 101 in 1001 Update

I think today I am 774 days into my 1001 days, so an update is long overdue!

Probably the biggest achievement on my list - and the one that has seen me pretty much neglect the rest of it - is #67.

67 Have a baby

Up to now, I have also completed those below:

1 Write a list of 101 things to do in 1001 days! 28 May 2014
5 See a movie in IMAX or 3D 9 August 2014
10 Read a book in a day (Where She Went)
23 Explore Paris by night 13 August 2014
25 Visit one new state December 2014
28 Kiss in front of the Eiffel Tower 13 August 2014
31 Visit a castle 18 October 2014
37 Go to 5 different museums (5/5)
38 Visit the Palace of Versailles 12 August 2014
39 Spend New Year's Eve in another country NYE 2014/2015 in New York
43 Go to New York at Christmas time
44 Visit an art museum 13 August 2014
50 Go on a road trip without a pre-set destination 14 June 2014
54 Start a new blog
61 Send flowers to someone March 2015
62 See a musical 21 June 2014
63 Gamble in a casino December 2014
67 Have a baby 6 May 2015
68 Meet an online friend in person 7 June 2014
69 Make a Year in Pictures album April 2016
76 Vote in a general election May 2015
86 Buy a new guest bed
96 Don't eat chocolate for a week
97 Create a meal planner
98 Sort out my wardrobe and donate any old clothes

In progress:

6 Watch 50 films I've never seen before (I just can't remember how many I've watched - I do have a list!)
19 Write on 20 creative writing prompts. (2/20)
24 Visit 5 capital cities (2/5)
45 Visit 10 local tourist attractions (2/10)
101 Make 10 things I've pinned on Pinterest (1/5)

There's still soooo much of my list to go at, and I know I've got basically no chance of achieving all 101 things. But that's OK, my priorities have changed somewhat since I started this little project - and there are some thing I should be able to achieve and that will be all the more enjoyable with the little guy in tow!

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Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Oh, Hi!

Well now, it's been a while since I showed my face round these parts huh? Part of the reason for that being that I (doh!) forgot my password for this account. Baby brain is a real thing, and it doesn't get any better after the baby has arrived and is growing up - at least, not in my experience.

Anyway, now that I've managed to log in I thought I'd just say hello. There's probably nobody still around to read this so I'm just talking to myself... but that is kind of normal these days too. One-year-olds are not so much with the listening! Or at least, my one year old isn't. He has very selective hearing, and if he doesn't like what he's hearing he's got the whole defiance thing down to a T.

That's right, I've now got a one year old! How'd that happen, right? I wish I knew. He's actually almost 14 months old, and tomorrow will be a year since we took him home for the first time (and a year since his due date). It's been a crazy year - he had his heart surgery in February, which was a nerve wracking time, but he's come on amazingly ever since. There are no words to describe the pride I have for my amazing little superhero of a son!

And on that note, I'll say bye for now. Hopefully not for as long this time!

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