BlogMas Day Twenty One – Our Favourite Children’s Christmas Stories

So today me and the boys are sharing our favourite Christmas stories which we like to read at this time of year.  I love reading and it is something I have encouraged from a young age with the boys.  They are both now very good readers and enjoy doing so.  Every year they get a new Christmas story in their Christmas Eve box to read that night and they will both always get new books for Christmas too.

Here are some of the stories I will be reading to them before bed in the next few days.

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The Snowman by Raymond Briggs

This is a traditional Christmas story which I remember being told as a child. I also love the film. I got this when Leo was born for his first Christmas. This one has a CD which tells the story too which the kids love as it’s something different. For those that don’t know the story is about a snowman that comes to life and has a night full of adventures with the little boy who made him.

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The Jolly Christmas Postman by Janet & Allan Ahlberg

I absolutely adore the Jolly Postman series and this is no exception. The story follows the postman delivering the mail to lots of famous storybook characters which children will recognise. The added bonus being that the children get to open the envelopes and see what is being delivered. This book was firmly kept on the shelf for many years until I could trust the boys were old enough not to rip it, but they love to read it together and open the envelopes throughout. The Ahlberg’s wrote some of my favourite children’s books and this one is up there with the best in my opinion.

Father Christmas Needs A Wee! and Father Christmas Comes Up Trumps! By Nicholas Allan

Definitely one of the boy’s top choices and they love this one all year round, not just at Christmas! What is it about boys and toilet humour? I really quite enjoy the stories though too, and like the way they rhyme. Funny and entertaining and we can’t not laugh at a good toilet joke in this house!



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Sproutzilla Vs Christmas by Tom Jameson and Mike Byrne

Lots of fun and you can’t have Christmas without a sprout! This was last year’s Christmas Eve book and both boys really enjoyed it. We aren’t sprout fans in this house but the story got a big thumbs up!

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The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore

Last but not least, a Christmas classic. I absolutely love this and the boys are always enthralled as I read it to them. This version is beautifully illustrated too, which makes it even better. It’s one of those stories like The Gruffalo, which you end up being able to read off by heart and the rhyming pattern makes it even more beautiful sounding. This should be a part of everyone’s Christmas!

So there are our top five (or six) children’s Christmas stories. Please let us know your favourites in the comments below and if you haven’t read any of these yet, be sure to let us know if you enjoy them as much as we do!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night… Xxx

The Worst Day Of My Life

I can honestly say that yesterday may have been the worst day of my entire life.  Many of you will know I have been struggling with stress and mental health problems recently and there has been a background to this which I haven’t shared with you.

My marriage ended at the beginning of February 2016.  Many of you know this but what only my family and close friends know about was the emotional abuse I had been suffering.  Finally managing to stand up for myself and building up the courage to leave was a huge step for me.  I was very poorly with my Crohns flare at the time which meant things were not easy.  However, once I had had my ileostomy and resection, things started improving.  I had told my ex that I would be staying in Essex for the foreseeable.  It was extremely hard being away from my family but I felt the boys had already been through a lot, and removing them at that point from their school for example, was not a good idea.

As my life started to improve, unfortunately, my ex husband continued to make things difficult.  He was still attempting to be very controlling, was cruel and started to accuse me of things, mostly involving the boys and not looking after them properly.  As this got worse and worse and time went on, I took the decision to move to Derby.

My ex has never been physically violent towards me, I would like to clarify that.  However, he does have a temper and has been emotionally abusive and extremely abusive by texts and verbally during confrontation.  We lived in a town surrounded by his friends and family.  While I had some great friends, it is not like the support you get from your family.  I was terrified of what his reaction would be to me telling him this news.  I looked into it legally and found that he could have an emergency order placed on me for up to two years preventing me from leaving Rayleigh.  By that time, I was struggling mentally and just needed to be home, I could not bear to wait possibly two years.  Had it gone to court we would have almost certainly been granted the right to move as well, being only 2.5 hours away, his visits with the children could be maintained and due to all my family living in Derby there was a legitimate reason for me wanting to be there.

He was obviously extremely angry when I told him that we would not be returning from our half term trip to Derby, which was understandable, but I explained his every other weekend could stay exactly the same.  I thought that as he was close to his family and knowing how poorly I had been, he would understand my reasons.

I submitted divorce papers earlier this year and was shocked a few days later to receive papers from the court stating my ex was taking me to court for custody of the boys.  His reasons were listed and made me feel sick – he accused me of not feeding them correctly, physically abusing them which turned out to be by moving them from Essex to Derby, not as one assumes, when they hear physical abuse as being an act of violence.  The list was four pages long and the lies truly horrified me.

I do not want to bore you with the ins and outs of the whole case but yesterday was the day of the final hearing.  Yesterday was the day I never saw coming and one which has turned my world upside down, torn my heart apart and left me in a complete and utter daze.  Although the judges said it was no reflection on my parenting ability, they are sending my boys to live with a man who emotionally abused me throughout our marriage and has continued to do so since we separated.  A man who is out of the house for 12 hours every day and admits his mum and dad as well as other family members will be doing the lions share of the childcare for him.  The man who has systematically brainwashed my oldest child, at one point telling him that my Crohns was my own fault and I caused the issues which led to my operation.  The man who asked me for a present  for looking after ‘your kids’ in his words, while I was severely ill in hospital.  The man who used my illnesses against me, even though I have raised those boys almost single handedly all their lives, despite always being ill, to be bright, confident and amazing little boys.  Who contacted a ‘pharmacist’ friend who has told him the possible side effects of medications he believes I take and accused me of suffering psychiatric problems due to these.  Who has made my eight year old feel sorry for him and think that by saying he wants to live in Rayleigh that he can help his Dad feel better.  Who won’t accept the younger child’s views, as he is completely happy where he is and does not want to leave his Mummy.  Who went for custody as he wanted to win. It is not for the children, and with their best interests at heart.  He wanted to hurt me after I left him and he has done it in the worst way possible.

I admitted I was ill, and will always be ill.  But I get up every day and fight for a life, fight for my boy’s lives.  They have never once had to care for me.  Never missed out on anything important because of me being ill.  I have been at all their shows, assemblies, sports days and parents evenings.  I take them to after school events and clubs.

I can honestly say this news has devastated me.  I have questioned whether to continue my blog – The Spoonie Mummy – but a Mummy who has been court ordered to only see her precious boys every other weekend.  Questioned whether I give up on life itself once the boys have gone.  I have considered ways to end my life.  On how I could do this in the most effective and least painful way.  I do not write this to shock or alarm people.  I write this as currently my state of mind is okay.  I have acknowledged these thoughts, I want people to know.  Today I am ready to fight but tomorrow could be a different story, and the family and friends I have supporting me have been amazing.  Some of them know these feelings and are keeping a close eye on me, so I feel safe.  I know talking about this issue is the way to make sure I can get through this.  I have talked about mental health and the most important thing that can help is by talking.  So here I am, telling all of you.

I have had to conversations today with two of my most amazing friends, as well as members of my amazing family and so many other people I love and am so genuinely grateful to have in my life.  I realised I fought the good fight, the honest fight.  I faced that awful man in court and I told people what he has done and said to me.  I never lied to get my own way.  I have been a good mum and I will continue to be.  I will continue to fight for what I think is in the best interests of the boys.  I do not have anything to be ashamed of, even though admitting this all to everyone is mortifying as I feel like it means I have done something wrong.

I was born with this illness and I will die with it.  It does not and never will be allowed to define me as a person.  As a woman, a partner, a daughter, sister or friend.  I will continue to spread awareness so people realise the strength of people with chronic illness and the awful stigmas and assumptions that are still placed on us.  I will continue to work hard for parent’s who have chronic illnesses.  We are not bad parent’s because we suffer, in fact, I believe it often makes us stronger as people and we have empathetic and loving children because of it.  I will continue for my two amazing, handsome, clever and happy boy’s who mean the entire world and more to me.

Leo and Riley,

This is not what Mummy wanted to happen.  This is not what Mummy wants to happen.  I will be here for you always and I will keep fighting and doing what I can in your best interests.  Ste and our families are so terribly hurt and upset.  Everyone here will miss seeing your smiling, happy faces every day.  You mean the world to me and being your Mummy is the greatest gift I have ever been granted.

”I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always.

As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be”

Please know I will always be here my little ones.  Endless love, lots of kisses and the biggest cuddles,

Mummy xxxx

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!

 

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

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day to all you wonderful Mummies out there!

My celebrations started Friday as the boys are at their Dad’s this weekend and won’t be back till this evening. They made me some beautiful cards in school and the three of us went for a lovely meal at Ask Italian in Derby. Was lovely to spend some time just the three of us, chatting and playing lots of Hangman while enjoying some very tasty food! We then went to pick up Ste and he had helped the boys and so I got home to a card, flowers and a pressie too!

This morning I have been to Frankie and Benny’s and had a yummy breakfast with my mum, dad, my middle brother and his family and my youngest brother. My steroid appetite finally appears to be subsiding a little as I couldn’t finish it all but it was delicious! We had a really lovely morning, the people serving us were fab and all the Mummies were given a free bottle of wine which was a nice surprise!

I really hope you are all enjoying your Sundays, spoiling your mum’s and being spoiled by your kids.

I couldn’t ask for a better Mum, she has supported me through everything, always knows when I need a cuddle and also knows when I need a good kick up the bum! She has taught me so much about being a Mum myself and I couldn’t have a better ‘job’. My boys mean the absolute world to me and I don’t need a day of them thanking me for doing it, it is my total pleasure and favourite thing to be. Today I feel very lucky and grateful, being able to spend time with my amazing Mummy and looking forward to the huge cuddles when my two favorite little men get back home later!

💜