Leo and Riley’s Sunday Night Takeover

The boys are back and they want to introduce the newest members of our family!

Meet Dumbledore (left) and Severus (right) our new guinea pigs. The boys are in love and I must admit, they are super lovely and I may be a little bit too! Leo picked the name Dumbledore and Riley liked the name Gingerbread but as he was black decided to change to it to Severus to match! They are now almost 14 weeks old and have been with us for almost two weeks. They are settling really well. We have been handling them quite a bit so they get used to us and Dumbledore is getting much more confident now. Severus is a little more timid but enjoys a really good cuddle!

The boys have a few top tips if you are thinking of getting guinea pigs as they make great pets for little ones –

1) They don’t like being on their own so you want to get at least two (note from Mum – matching sexes or a female with a neutered male to prevent unwanted babies!) And make sure the cage or hutch you get is big enough for them both as they grow

2) They can’t produce vitamin C so we have drops to put in their water

3) You have to give them a good supply of straw to eat so their tummies don’t get poorly

4) They like cuddles and to make them feel safe you put your hand under their bum and one hand around their tummy under their arms. Then you hold them close to you

5) They like to run in tunnels and play games. Then they can have treats

6) We have got claw clippers so their nails don’t get too long

7) They like to run around outside so you should get them a run so they can play

8) Cats don’t like guinea pigs so you shouldn’t get them if you have a cat

9) They can live inside or outside but you should bring them inside when it’s really cold

10) They are the best pets ever and ours are the cutest!

So that’s their advice for if you are looking at getting a pet for your children. The boys will be back with updates on how Dumbledore and Severus are getting on I’m sure so keep your eyes peeled!

 

Time for YOU!

So, the children are back to school!  The first few days of the new half term are over and our houses are getting back to normal post holiday hurricane.  Now you have a bit of time, what are you going to do for YOU?

Taking time for yourself is so important.  As a Mum, I recently found myself talking to someone who asked me what I enjoyed doing.  My response – ‘Oh I’m a Mum’.  I immediately felt lame.  Not that being a Mum isn’t my favourite thing to be.  But I realised I had lost sight of me as a person.  I couldn’t think of a single thing or hobby that I had done in the past six to twelve months (or possibly longer) to tell this person.  I realised I needed to start identifying as a person again, a woman who is a Mum but has other parts to her as well.

The first thing I did was set up my blog which I had been wanting to do for a long time.  I love writing and I have always wanted to be involved with helping people with the same chronic illnesses as me.  I then signed up to restart my second year of university in October.  I am completing my degree through The Open University part time.  I have passed my first year but have attempted my second year twice and had to defer due to my health problems.  This year I’m determined to get back on track with it.  I then got the amazing opportunity to appear on The IBD & Ostomy Support Show ( https://www.facebook.com/theibdandostomyshow/?ref=bookmarks ).  Louise ( http://www.crohnsfighting.com ) came up with the idea of an hour long, weekly, interactive live show during which four women would discuss all things IBD and Ostomy related.  She called us the ‘Loose Women of IBD and Ostomies’!  Through this I have made three beautiful and inspiring friends for life.  I am getting to help people by sharing my story and experiences which help them in their situations.  I have signed up to the gym although unfortunately have been unable to start yet as I have been in an arthritis flare.  And I have begun reading more again which has always been one of my favourite hobbies.

A few weeks ago Stephie ( http://www.colitistoostomy.com ) came to us with an idea of doing a June challenge she was going to call #OstoMYlove.  She was inspired by Rachel ( http://www.rocking2stomas.co.uk ) who just does far too much for others, which can sometimes be at the detriment to her own health and wellbeing.  She had done the challenge before but basically, there is a micro action for each day of the month.  They are called micro actions as they are small, simple tasks which shouldn’t take long but they give you a little time each day for yourself.  Today is the end of the first week and so far it is going really well.  It is definitely nice to know you have a little bit of time dedicated to you during your day which encompasses a move, love, mind or food element.  If you fancy joining in, pop me a message at http://www.facebook.com/thespooniemummy or in the comments below and I can point you in the right direction of all the information.  You also don’t need to have an ostomy to take part!

ostomylove

There are also other things that you can do to get a bit of ‘me time’.  Take a walk, go and get a massage or your nails done.  You could meet a friend for lunch or a coffee.  I try and meet my Mum once a week for lunch now I am back living in Derby again.  She loves to see me with the kids but I really enjoy this time of just me and her.  Some grown up girl bonding and chat time over some lovely food.

mumlunch

You could take a bath and pop in a bath bomb or some Epsom Salts to relax and unwind.  Read a book or watch a movie that isn’t child friendly.  Me and Ste dropped the boys off at school the week before last and realising we had nothing to do, the house was clean and the washing was done.  So we took a trip to the cinema for an impromptu ‘date morning’.  Taking time out for you and your partner is also very important.  When you have children it may not be as easy, and it may not be able to be a weekly thing but having that time to reconnect as adults and partners is vital to a relationship.

Whatever you choose to do, try and make it a regular thing.  Not necessarily every day, or even every week depending on your schedule.  But we all deserve a little time to ourselves and we are all people – women and men who may also be mums and dads, we may have chronic illnesses, but that is only part of us.  Give yourself time for what YOU enjoy.

A Letter To My Children

So me and the ladies on The IBD & Ostomy Support Show have been talking part in the #ostoMYlove challenge for June which Stephie over at Colitis To Ostomy came up with. It’s all about giving yourself a little time each day to appreciate, take time out and focus on yourself. This was my day four post and I wanted to share it on my blog too. Please comment if you would like more information on the challenge, you don’t need an ostomy to do it either. And it’s never too late to start giving yourself a little time each day!

Day 4 #ostoMYlove #thanksomeone

Today our micro action is to thank someone. I have chosen my amazing children.

Dear Leo and Riley,

My two beautiful boys. I want to thank you both for giving me the greatest gift I’ve ever been granted. Of being a mum, your mum.
I couldn’t be prouder of you both, of how you are growing and learning. Leo, you are handsome, compassionate, helpful and so clever. Your charity fundraising is a wonderful thing and I couldn’t be prouder. Riley you me smile with your cheekiness, you are gorgeous, empathetic and funny.
The last couple of years haven’t been easy for us. Mummy and Daddy split up, Mummy hasn’t been well and we moved to Derby. You two have coped amazingly well in what would have been tough for a grown up, never mind two young boys. I’m sorry I couldn’t shield you from the whole lot, I’m sorry for not being able to protect you from not being hurt at all. But I thankyou for being so brave, for opening up and being honest with me always, for starting new schools and not only getting on with it but thoroughly thriving.
I’m sorry that I’ve been poorly recently and not always been the Mum I want to be and have been in the past to you both. Before having you both I made a promise to myself that I would never rely on you both to care for me. I’m happy that this has never been the case but I do realise that sometimes you miss out when I can’t take you to the park one day or we miss a day out as I am not feeling too good. Thankyou for being happy playing board games, watching movies, colouring, baking and playing with playdough indoors.
Thankyou for always being there for a cuddle. Thankyou for being the reason I keep going, keep fighting, and look forward to every new day. Thankyou for being you.

Love you both so much,

Mummy xx

Me, Being Mummy

An Introduction

I wrote my first blog post almost 10 months ago, just after turning 30 and going through what was probably the toughest 8 months of my life. I then kept it to myself as I thought no one would want to read it! Fast forward to the present day and I realised at the weekend, I’m actually now coming up pretty close to 31. My life has moved on considerably since it imploded last year and I want to start looking forward to the future and embracing some goals I set myself a while back. I feel I need to give a brief history so you can understand some of this better.

I was diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Poly Arthritis (Rheumatoid Arthritis) at 15 months of age, so being poorly is all I have ever known. I hate the ‘idiopathic’ part of this – sounds far too close to the word ‘idiot’ for my liking and basically just means there is no known cause! Aged 7 I had my first iritis flare and around the age of 8 or 9 my bowel problems started. What was put down to the heaps of medication I was on, was eventually diagnosed as Crohns disease. I received my diagnosis in October 2012 when I was 26 years old.

Clearly one chronic illness wasn’t enough. I would end up requiring surgery to remove a section of my small intestine and the beginning of my large intestine. Chronic inflammation had caused it to almost completely close up, making me extremely ill. During the surgery I had a stoma (ileostomy) formed. An ileostomy is where the end of the small intestine (terminal ileum) is pulled through the abdomen to form a spout that expels waste into an ostomy bag.

This surgery took place 2 days after my 30th birthday. Now when I asked for a bag, I was thinking more along the lines of Dolce & Gabbana or Chloe, not a poop bag! My surgery came at a very difficult time. I’d separated 2.5 months prior from my husband, who I have 2 beautiful boys with. It was a pretty terrible and stressful time for me.

Now getting back to my goals. One of them is to be able to support children and young people (under 45s) who suffer with forms of arthritis or have an ostomy This would be a process through diagnosis, treatment and everything that comes with having a chronic illness or ostomy. This is the reason I’ve decided to start writing again. I hope that if I can help just one person, I will be on my way to succeeding.

I have met some wonderful, inspiring people along my journey, who I hope to share my words with too. I aim to keep you all up to date with my health journey and life in general. I believe that I’m not just my illnesses, they do not define me. I lead a great life (well as much as a mum of 2 young boys can!). So please support me by inviting your friends to read, like and share my page. The more the merrier I suppose!

X