Thursday, 24 May 2012

two and three

Enjoying the gorgeous early morning sun, my smallest girl  is loving being able to eat breakfast outside.  A few chocolate cheerios in a pot and she is fuelled to wander round exploring the garden whilst her sibling are sleeping.  

What more does a little lady need than a bag and a favourite top?  Peppa Pig is a  huge love for my two year and three month old (this week)  at the moment, nearly as much as all her "babies" and shoes.

 When she gets tired she hops in her  car and rides it up and down the path.  Teddy is often a passenger  and loves listening to her chatter as she drives around the garden.

The little red and car has lasted well, it was second hand over fourteen years ago and has survived much abuse.  Unfortunately   we have had real car trouble this week - both of them have broken in the last few days!  Thankfully the eight seater seems to have been resurrected.  Just to add to the stress the washing machine broke last week as did families cope in the days before them?

 It is almost half term and we are all very ready for it,   extra marking, exams, tired children and broken appliances are draining my energy.
Although I am so grateful for extra work at the moment.

A little bit of  early morning toddler energy would be very welcome though!

 I am  trying to avoid (yet more) caffeine  and would really appreciate suggestions for alternatives when you are in need of a lift.

How do you find an extra boost of energy when you are in need?

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

The story of a wonky eye

I was overwhelmed with the kind  response to our happy news that Ruby's brain signal test was completely normal.  

Thank you so much dear friends and family for all your concern for our baby girl. 

 Here is her story

We first noticed Ruby's left eye was slightly odd when she was quite small, it just did not look right and sometimes seemed to move around unable to focus properly.  Following her one year  old health check the health visitor  referred her to the orthoptic department at the local hospital.  She was diagnosed with strabismus amblyopia which in easy to understand words is a lazy eye with an outward  squint. 

There started our far too intimate relationship with the out patients department at the local hospital.  Such a miserable place to be; the vastly overheated waiting area is  a bizarre mix of very frail old people, children with varying thickness of glasses and very harassed parents.  The plastic guide dog has  long since stopped providing entertainment, the jigsaw pieces, already few, are rapidly diminishing and the odd collection of books do nothing to fill our always long waiting time.  

However these monthly visits have been a breeze compared to enticing a small child into wearing her patch. The idea is that her good eye is covered forcing her weak eye to learn how to see.  Obviously the consultant who rather patronisingly reminded us she would be blind in that eye if we did not make her wear it  has never had to  actually enforce  patching  with a toddler.  We have tried and tried and thought of a new strategy and tried again.

We have patched:

as a baby

whilst crafting
in the woods, with a dummy bribe!

the rest of the family (no success!)
in the garden
on a bike  (removing it!)
in her christmas dress

We have prayed many times and asked our healing God to make her sight right.

All of these strategies, including patching her favourite dolls and wearing arm bands  so she could not physically remove the patch have not proved much success.  Frustratingly she will wear the patch for other people, wearing it all day with a child carer but removing it as soon as she is collected.    

Following our last visit there was some concern that she might not actually have potential to see and we were sent to a larger hospital (with a much more friendly outpatients waiting area) for tests to see the ability of her brain to actually process  visual signals.

She was wired up and firmly sat on my lap with a whole variety of treats at the ready, in front of the television screen.  A video (remember those?) was put in the machine and at various points   coloured dots go across the screen, the wires attached to her head in different places record her responses to them.  These are then analysed for the results.

We have just had the happy news that her   brain is working correctly and  her problem is only a lazy eye, nothing more sinister.  

What an overwhelmingly amazing relief!

She will still need a small operation to correct the squint but there is no rush for that, forcing the weaker eye to work is a much higher priority as if not achieved by the age of seven then it is not going to be possible. The consultant suggested we use drops of Atropine in her good eye which will blur the vision forcing her weak eye to learn to see. 

It can only be easier than the patching trial.

Has anyone had any experience of using these drops or
 got any useful lazy eye advice?

Monday, 14 May 2012

growing seedlings

Every spare space in the kitchen seems to be taken up with growing seedings at the moment.  I am so pleased with my little tomato  plants,  from  tiny seeds to healthy plants  in only a few weeks gives me such confidence in my growing gardening skills.

My inspiration to provide support was to use straws and they have worked really well.  I have no idea what you are meant to use but the brightly coloured plastic straws look fun on the windowsills.

To add to my tomato, pepper, strawberry and herb  plant collection I bought some runner bean plants at a local WI plant sale, they are starting to really take off.  It has been so cold  at night that I am not sure whether to plant them now or wait a while.  Has anyone got any suggestions, I would be so sad if the cold killed them off!

It will take me a few days to hunt out the garden canes which have been  used for dens and highly dangerous weapons (resulting in them being put  in various confiscated places around the house) since last years crop finished.  I need to clear the  weeds from the vegetable area and then they can go in their earthy bed.

Hopefully soon I can show you a nicer photo of this area at the end of the garden.

The potatoes  are chitted and were planted a few weeks ago, hopefully  the rain has helped them grow, Ruby is maybe not helping them as much!

The poor raspberries next to the shed also need a bit of tending.

In amidst the weeds around my flowering raspberry bushes I spied a pretty little flower.  How pretty did this solitary bluebell look against the backdrop of weeds and overgrown bushes. The first photo is a closer image but can you find it in this picture?  

A reminder to always look for the beautiful in amidst the weeds; a metaphor for much of life!

Gardeners have you put your runner beans in yet, dare I risk it?

What else should I be growing or doing now?

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Rosie in the daisies

Such a lovely three day weekend; the rainy weather meant we felt no guilt at having a pyjama day and chilling at home.  The younger children had such a fabulous time playing,  amid several huge disagreements over a certain rag doll, belonging to neither of them but still proving to be the most coveted toy of the day.

Made by grandma for their older sibling, rag doll Rosie thankfully managed to stay intact during the very heated disagreements. (Has anyone seen a pattern for a similar doll - it might save some sibling arguments.)  Sitting in my old pushchair this afternoon, she is probably as thankful as we are for a little  promise of sun at last.  The grass is certainly in need of cutting but I will be very sad to see the  pretty little  daisies lost.  They remind me of happy school days chatting on the field and making daisy chains with friends.  

On the grass this little group looked like a heart and so happily colourful next to the very green background.

I must have had this  little purple pushchair for around thirty seven years, it has certainly lasted longer than all the plastic pushchairs we have owned over time.   Very, very scary to think my childhood toys would now be considered vintage!  It is really lovely seeing my baby play with toys that not only her older brothers and sisters enjoyed  but also  my brothers and I  used.  

 I wonder how many of her toys will still be here in almost forty years time?  

Do you have a favourite childhood toy that is still played with & loved today?

Thursday, 3 May 2012

flower cards for the fayre

What do you do with a lot of carefully hand made flower brooches that  did not sell at the popular school  summer fayre craft stall?

Turn them into gorgeous cards!

Although the stall itself was a huge success these little flower pins proved to be unsaleable last year. Not wanting the hard work of many busy mums to go to waste, we are using them in a different way this year and turning them into cards.  

Such a fantastic way to give a greeting and a special little gift to a friend at the same time.  They have turned out so well  that I  really want to buy all of them all!  

The flower brooch pattern can be found here, although as with all things handmade we adapted ours slightly. If you feel inspired to use up all your fabric scraps and make a pretty accessory which would easily brighten up a coat or a bag  they were fairly simple to make.

Using these  fantastic   rainbow coloured  envelopes, which were kindly donated but can be bought here,  and  good quality card our little craft group set to work to turn the brooches into pretty greeting cards.

Just right for a special friend.

Which one is your favourite?