Books, blogs and being tagged

There’s not so many cheerful bloggers around this week, but I am doing my best despite being slightly unwell, which luckily has happened this weekend when I don’t have to go anywhere, but I will anyway as my disabled daughter does not like staying in the house for too long. Breathes through blocked nose…

Books

Despite the current germfest, life is looking a bit brighter right now (touches wood) and that means I’ve gone back to books. In a small way. Like I’ve still to finish the book I began at Christmas. But at least I’m reading again. And getting excited about these new books:

‘City of Friends’ by Joanna Trollope. Not science fiction but the story of four middle aged women, one of whom has to stop working to care for her mother. So you can see why I might be interested!

‘The Seven Sisters’ by Neil Gaiman. A follow up to the fantasy/science fiction novel ‘Neverwhere’, which was also my second favourite TV series of all time. So I can’t wait for this to come out.

‘The Book of Dust’ by Philip Pullman. A follow up trilogy to the Northern Lights series that my eldest and youngest adored, so we will all be fighting over it when it’s published.

Blogs

I’ve started a new blog – and I’d actually have trouble telling you all the blogs I’ve worked on at this stage. But this new blog is just for me, it’s going to be full of recipes that work with the very restrictive GERD diet that I now need to follow. I’ve had to learn some new tricks to make it work, so that’s good too.

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Being Tagged

Out of the blue a childhood friend tagged me in a family photo from about 2000. It was a photo of her family, but they’ve been like a second family to me too, and B and I snuck into the picture (she seems to be a long way away from me, but I think she’s in her walker, and as usual refused to smile to order!). Happy memories of a time when special needs did not stop us living a normal life.

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Check out Lakes Single Mum for more reasons to be cheerful and have a great week x

 

Fat middle aged mum runs for her life

Okay so maybe ‘slightly overweight’ middle aged mum would be more accurate, but fat makes a better headline, right? Anyway, I’m 11 stone and a size 14 which is huuuuuuge by fashion industry standards and I have fat in places where no fat should be. Which is why I will never wear a bikini again!

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This is the fatter me recently, running in the Phoenix Park in Dublin. In the rain.

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London Marathon 1987, one of the best days of my life!

This was me in my mid twenties on a very proud day. But my running career had an inauspicious start.

Three years earlier I could’ve been voted employee least likely likely to run for a bus. My colleagues mocked my attempts at jogging, and when I announced my intention to run a half marathon they sponsored me large amounts per mile… But I got the last laugh, and a local charity did extremely well when I finished in just over two hours.

And I just kept going, joining clubs, running races, taking breaks and beginning again. Right now I’m training really hard for the 10K Great Ireland Run in April and hoping to break the hour — a big change from the days when I was trying to break 45 minutes! But I’m nearly there…

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So while I’ve been running on and off for a long time, others like Sinéad at Shinners and the Brood are just starting, with the excellent couch to 5K programme. Good luck to everyone who is beginning a journey to fitness in 2017, and here are some random running tips from a veteran…

All you need is a pair of trainers and a bit of determination to get started.

But you’ll soon want to spend some money. For comfort and to avoid injury you should invest in a good pair of running shoes bought from a proper running shop where advice is available. Plus a supportive sports bra (unless you’re a man, I guess!). And there’s lots of amazing, gorgeous and useful running gear now, with quick dry fabrics and even bum bags with water bottle holders!

Running on your own is hard to do all the time. I would definitely recommend joining a running group or club. You can find them via social media, sites such as boards.ie (Ireland) or apps like MeetUp.

A goal will keep you focused and keep you going. Whether that’s a regular 5K #Parkrun  or a marathon, it will help you leave the house on those days when you’d much rather slump on the couch with a tub of Ben & Jerry’s.

Variety also helps avoid boredom: take different routes, take photos when you need to stop. Try longer slower runs, or shorter faster ones. Try different locations and times of the day, running in sand or up hills will test you, but the scenery will be great, and there’s something special about running in the city early in the morning when it’s quiet and fresh.

Races are fun to test yourself and to experience the feeling of running with a crowd, getting a medal, a T shirt, and maybe raising funds for a good cause.

Struggling to find a babysitter? Run with a buggy. They are welcome at some parkruns and bigger races too. I slowly ran the Great Pink Run 5K course last year pushing my adult disabled daughter.

Running apps, love them or hate them, they can be motivational. Most people I know use Runkeeper.

Need a break from running? Take it. Your legs will remember the training you’ve done and it will be easier going back than it was starting out.

Running may not feel easy at first, but if you push through, you should get to a point where you feel comfortable running at a pace that’s right for you. You’ll enjoy the feeling of moving, of meeting other runners, of looking at the world around you, and the fresh air. Our bodies were made to run!

As for me, I’m running for my life. To keep me alive, to give me more energy for my children, to help me ditch medication, and to battle anxiety and depression, the life partners of many family carers, including me.

So to all the middle aged women out there who say they cannot run, I have this message: Yes. We. Can.

The Minister for Health is right to say that family carers are the backbone

Irish Health Minister Simon Harris TD reportedly said that family carers are the backbone of carers at a conference for people with acquired brain injury in Dublin today.

But you know what?

He’s right.

And I’ll tell you why.

Because the backbone is hidden away out of sight and out of mind.

No-one thinks about their backbone.

No-one pays it much attention.

Most people take it for granted.

They do little to support it.

They do things that will weaken it.

They do things that may damage it.

But they expect their backbone to soldier on regardless.

They only notice it when it hurts or breaks.

Then there’s a crisis, cries for help, and they wish they’d looked after their backbone all along.

And it seems that every generation is destined to make the same mistake, with their backbone and with family carers who provide such a vital service to society even though most people forget about them as they go about their daily lives.

Perhaps the Minister for Health will now show that he understands the importance of looking after society’s backbone. Let’s hope so.

I also want to dedicate this post to the memory of Lisa Williams who was a friend of many of my friends and whose death was reported this week. Rest in peace Lisa.

My Big Love

Apart from my children, obviously. And probably tying with coffee. Yes this is a quick post about the sea. For Valentine’s Day. Because, why not?

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And I really do love the sea, even on a grey chill day like today. Actually even more so. It was just me, my thoughts and a flock of squabbling Canada Geese. Exactly what I needed.

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I needed a break from the paperwork: a 36 page government disability document, minutes from a recent school meeting, and the biannual disability parking permit application form, which necessitates ordering a new cheque book – paypal etc not accepted – remembering how to print a passport size photo of my disabled daughter B and then dragging her up to the local Garda (police) station and getting poor PC Plod who would much rather be catching criminals to confirm that the photo is a true likeness of her. Catches breath.

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So anyway I was feeling a bit down. Perverse really as things have been going a bit better, and I’m getting a few child free hours for several days every week at the moment. I suppose it’s hit me how tired I actually am, and it being Valentine’s Day I decided a bit of self love was needed. So instead of going on another tough training run, I went for a little jog along the Sutton sea front, and let the tide wash away all those self pitying thoughts. And thought about how much I’m blessed and lucky and loved.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

And then this happened

You know I’m not doing a lot with this blog, right? It’s not registered with Mumsnet or Netmums, I don’t have a Google Plus or Pinterest account for it, and I still haven’t the foggiest about Snapchat or Domain Authority.

Yet someone somewhere has not only been reading this blog, but has also nominated it in a number of categories in the new UK-based BAPS awards for bloggers who write about disability issues (SEND bloggers). Since I’ve gone back to my blogging roots and am writing about topics that matter to me, when I feel like it, and not with an eye on the Tots 100 blogging index, I did not expect or look for recognition. But it’s absolutely wonderful to get it!

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With a few notable exceptions* the SEND blogging community is where I find more blogs that are still true to the way the blogging world was when I first joined it – passionate, honest, funny, heartbreaking, campaigning. Blogs that mean something. Here’s a few outstanding examples from the last few weeks – from around the world:

Zen and the Art of Extreme Parenting

I have recently become interested in extreme sports and have been considering amazing feats of daring-do and endurance. Maybe this is an age thing (46 as our local paper was keen to pointlessly share) or maybe it’s a growing awareness that life is short.

I suspect it is more to do with the fact that jumping off the side of a bridge attached to an elastic seems a great deal easier than parenting my three children.

Read more here: https://thewrongkindofsnow.blog/2017/02/07/zen-and-the-art-of-extreme-parenting/

Actually we would rather not do that. It puts a strain on our service.

Back to this whole media promoted, lack of adequate education driven idea that people such as my son are a drain, and a burden. Yes he is undoubtably costly to local authorities and the health service. But his life matters. The minute we start picking apart society in terms of who’s life matters more we start on a slippery downward spiral.

Read more here: http://theaandnatesmam.blogspot.ie/2017/01/actually-we-would-rather-not-do-that-it.html?m=1

Shit Happens

(Promoting the building of Changing Places toilets)

Poo is normal. Let’s help all people poo with dignity!

Read more here: https://ordinaryhopes.com/2017/02/08/10762/

I’d Move Heaven and Earth to Help You

I’d pray to God, 
To any god, 
To every god, 
If I thought it would make a difference. 

Read more here: http://www.littlemamamurphy.co.uk/2017/02/i-move-heaven-and-earth-to-help-you.html?m=1

Reality 2017

(The Bright Side of Life reflects on her son becoming an adult)

What do you do?

When you realise that 2017 is the year that your special needs child is turning 18?

When it hits home that this should be his last year of schooling?

When it dawns on you that this is the year he qualifies for a driver’s licence?

When your heart pangs over the fact that he will not be spreading his wings ~ leaving home ~ getting a girlfriend ~ going to University ~ becoming independent?

What would you do?

Read more here: http://brightsideoflifeasd.blogspot.ie/2017/01/reality-2017.html

Two and a Half Years later

(An update from This is no ordinary kid, now a young adult living in Australia)

He still loves blondes.
He still curls up and has a snuggle with me. 
He still gives the best hugs.
He still has the biggest smile.
He is still VERY LOUD. 

Read more here: http://thisisnoordinarykid.blogspot.ie/2017/01/two-and-half-years-later-our-family.html?m=0

My heart knows

(My friend Lynne writes about grieving the loss of her adult son, who was so like my daughter in many ways)

I know he his gone. My heart feels the pain of it every single second of every single day. My brain on the other hand, likes to pretend that he is in respite or at school and that he will, at some point, be home.

My brain recoils from the thought of never ever seeing him again so I try to not think about that….AT ALL.

Read more here: https://breathethroughitblog.wordpress.com/2017/02/05/my-heart-knows/

Other SEND bloggers that I read regularly include Steph’s Two Girls, Ojo’s World, Transitioning Angels, Faithmummy and Was This In The Plan???

With apologies to everyone I couldn’t include.

So being nominated and being part of such a great community is my reason to be cheerful for this week.

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*Such as my fellow Reasons to Be Cheerful bloggers, Liveotherwise and many of the Irish Parenting Bloggers.

A new hope

Corners have been turned for all three of my children this week: for my disabled daughter B, the news came that the local disability manager has agreed that home nursing will be organised in the event of an emergency medical crisis affecting me. It just shows that screaming and shouting on social media does bring results, but it shouldn’t have to be that way. As for the other two? Well their news is mostly theirs to share at this stage..

But here’s some of the other things that made me happy this week:

All three of my children arriving home each day happy and chatty. Love the way my eldest spills all the news when she gets in, I feel privileged that she still lives at home and wants to share all the highlights of her day with me.

Happy Mum and happy daughter photos from last Saturday.

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Two Instagram challenges for February, perfect as I’m just finishing up an on-line mindfulness course from Happy Healthy Minds, so I need another challenge. No images I’m really proud of so far, but it’s keeping me entertained and distracting my mind from disability issues.

Irish radio: It’s always a little bit less serious than in other countries and sometimes it’s not serious at all. Like this interview with Batman. Listen if you have time, you won’t regret it!

//www.newstalk.com/player/embed.php?mediaType=podcast&id=177879

The carpets are once again their original colour thanks to an exhausting 24 hours collecting a giant carpet cleaner and then lugging it, shampoo and buckets of water up and down the stairs. Glad to have that job done though.

And because the week ended well, I felt cheerful enough to do some baking on Friday to mark carrot cake day – in a healthy way of course – and these were the results. #notprettybuttasty

carrot-cakes

Have a great week and head over to Lakes Single Mum for more Reasons to be Cheerful.